Russell Westbrook Trade Rumors: Rockets Trying to Land Star in 3-Team Deal

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJuly 11, 2019

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook looks on in the first half during an NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz Monday, March 11, 2019, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

The Houston Rockets continue to explore trade possibilities for Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook

ESPN's Brian Windhorst reported Thursday on SportsCenter that the Rockets are interested in a three-team deal that would allow them to land the eight-time All-Star.

Windhorst added that Westbrook "supplied a list" of his preferred destinations to the Thunder and the Miami Heat are his ideal option.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported Tuesday that Westbrook and his representatives "have been discussing trade possibilities and scenarios with [general manager Sam] Presti, and the sides are both motivated to find a resolution sooner rather than later."

ESPN's Tim MacMahon first reported the Rockets were interested in Westbrook but that completing a trade with Oklahoma City would be difficult "due to the challenge of finding pieces that fit with the Thunder or pulling off a complicated multiteam deal."

Westbrook is due to earn a little over $38.5 million in 2019-20, an amount Houston would basically have to match in any trade.

Mathematically, a trade package of Clint Capela, Eric Gordon and PJ Tucker ($37.3 million) would work. That may not be too attractive from Oklahoma City's perspective, though, since dealing Westbrook would trigger a full-scale rebuild. For that reason, a straight-up swap of Westbrook for Chris Paul makes little sense for the Thunder, too.

More than anything, Rockets general manager Daryl Morey has to consider whether gutting his team's depth is worth acquiring another ball-dominant point guard. The partnership of Paul and James Harden has worked out well for Houston and proved the skeptics wrong. Throwing Westbrook into the mix seems like a step too far and a recipe for disaster.

Considering both sides are motivated to move on from one another, Westbrook's trade from the Thunder appears to be an inevitability. The likelihood of him joining the Rockets is probably far slimmer.

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