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Russell Westbrook Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz on Rockets Potentially Dealing Star

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorDecember 27, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 25: Russell Westbrook #0 of the Houston Rockets goes in for a layup against the Golden State Warriors during the first half of an NBA basketball game at Chase Center on December 25, 2019 in San Francisco, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Ryen Russillo of The Ringer said on his podcast Thursday that he believes Houston Rockets point guard Russell Westbrook could be made available in a trade.

Dan Feldman of NBC Sports transcribed Russillo's comments.

"I think Westbrook is available. We can talk about semantics, of course, Daryl Morey would trade anyone if he thought it made his team better. Of course, he would trade Westbrook if he could get off of that long-term money, if he thought the assets, the sum of the parts was better than having somebody that's considered a top-10 player.

"Is Daryl Morey actively calling people, saying, 'Hey, I've got to dump Westbrook?' Well, of course, he wouldn't do it that way. But there are people who believe Westbrook is available and that Daryl knows, “I've got to figure something out here.

"I'm sure people will deny this after they hear it on the podcast. I don't care."

The Oklahoma City Thunder traded the 31-year-old Westbrook to the Houston Rockets in the offseason. The ex-UCLA star has posted 24.1 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.1 assists. The eight-time All-Star and 2016-17 NBA MVP has averaged a triple-double in each of his last three full seasons. 

Westbrook has partnered with old Thunder teammate James Harden in the Houston backcourt. The Rockets have largely fared well, going 21-10 and sitting fourth in the Western Conference.

They've also earned a few impressive wins, namely a 122-117 road victory over the Los Angeles Clippers with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George both on the floor.

However, the Rockets have encountered a few issues in the Harden-Westbrook era, with Feldman outlining them.

"Russell Westbrook hasn't provided the desired upgrade over Chris Paul," Feldman wrote. "Houston has performed better when James Harden plays without Westbrook than when Harden plays with Westbrook. Westbrook-led lineups have struggled when Harden sits."

Houston also doesn't look any closer to winning the Western Conference than it has at any point this decade, with the West-leading Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers seemingly the frontrunners for the two Western Conference Finals spots.

Still, the Rockets are only 31 games into this new partnership, and the team hasn't imploded by any means.

But if Houston is open to a Westbrook trade, then it may be hard to pull off.

Westbrook is currently in the third season of a six-year, $233 million contract that runs through 2022-23, and as Feldman noted, teams may be reticent to take on that much money.

The trade deadline is Feb. 6, but for now, the Rockets will look to rebound from a 116-104 upset loss to the Golden State Warriors when they host the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday.