2 blockbuster trade offers the Clippers need to make for Russell Westbrook
It’s come as no surprise that the Los Angeles Clippers will be on the lookout for some additional pieces to bulk up their roster ahead of the 2020-21 season. As such, one area that’s been heavily magnified since the offseason commenced was their need for a better point guard to help run the offense. While Patrick Beverley is certainly a defensive-minded floor general who can impose some defensive stops when their offense isn’t going to plan, he’s also not a part of the solution to that shaky offense.
There’s been the recent development involving both James Harden and Russell Westbrook, stating a certain level of uncertainty in their respective futures with the Houston Rockets franchise. In turn, and in theory, it leaves both superstars possibly open to the option of being traded to another contender in better shape of making a true championship run next year. More so, the Clippers have reportedly expressed interest in Westbrook.
With that, the Clippers could very well end up being a prime destination for the Long Beach native, seeing as how they will likely be on the lookout for another guard in the backcourt. Even so, working out a deal for the nine-time All-Star can become difficult if the Clippers don’t have enough bodies to successfully ship off in return for Westbrook.
Even so, here are two trades scenarios that would likely be at the forefront of any Russell Westbrook to Clippers trade scenario.
1. Clippers Receive: Russell Westbrook
Rockets Receive: Montrezl Harrell, Louis Williams, Patrick Beverley
The Rockets are still trying to go by the metrical tendencies on the court versus the actuality of what works in order to make a team successful. A nod to that was in their decision to ship off Clint Capela last season in an effort to go with a smaller lineup that included P.J. Tucker being slotted to the center position. That said, they’ll likely be looking to re-up on a big in exchange for Westbrook after watching that said experiment fail.
Harrell is coming off his best year to date, earning him the Sixth Man of the Year award. Even so, his talents could likely best be suited in a starting lineup where he could provide more physicality and paint presence. He averaged 18.6 points on 58 percent shooting from the field this past season, all while on 27.8 minutes per game. He also averaged 7.1 rebounds per game, which is likely to go up if he finds himself on the Rockets with an increase in minutes.
Even so, the Clippers have a little bit of dirty work to do before they can make a deal with Harrell included. The 26-year old forward is set for a big payday this offseason, one that’ll likely see his AAS bump up to at least $17-$18 million. With that in mind, the Clippers would have to work out a sign-and-trade for the forward in that predicted amount range. By adding in both Louis Williams and Patrick Beverley, two additional guards that could be of much service to the Rockets in the absence of Westbrook, the money and scenario could certainly work out.
2. Clippers Receive: Russell Westbrook
Rockets Receive: Marcus Morris Sr., Louis Williams, Patrick Beverley
Any deal that the Clippers attempt to swing without involving a third party would likely have to include both Beverly and Williams, with Beverley being included at the least. Beverley’s due $13.3 million next year, which will be instrumental in any momentum for the Clippers being able to land Westbrook. Basically, it’s fancy-math and the numbers have to match.
As for Williams, he presents that all-around talent aspect that the Rockets will likely covet in return. He’s a former Sixth Man of the Year representee like Harrell, and can pour on points in a hurry. He also fits the bill if the Rockets are still looking to deploy the small-ball routine going forward.
Still, the dark horse in this equation is Marcus Morris, who is set to be an unrestricted free agent and will field offers from multiple teams. The good news for the Clippers though is Morris’ projected value in free agency, which will likely decrease compared to his $18 million salary he’s coming off of this season. The Clippers were able to acquire Morris from the New York Knicks last season, with the Knicks opting to take their favored route of overpaying veterans with no clear direction in mind. As such, Morris didn’t turn out an $18 million performance with the Clippers, finding himself in a logjam with a roster brimming with talent.
However, Morris will still command a decent contract despite his decrease in production. If he wants to help skip the offseason stress of playing poker with teams that’ll have enough cap space to bring him aboard, he could also opt for a sign-and-trade that could land him on a decent contender with the Rockets. He’ll likely come in on a team-friendly deal for the Rockets, but he’ll also see a major bump in minutes since Houston could use some physical presence at the forward spot.
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