Rival executives believe Houston is ‘a likely suitor’ for Thunder star Russell Westbrook
Where in the world will Oklahoma City Thunder star point guard Russell Westbrook land?
After the Thunder traded six-time All-Star Paul George, who re-signed with the franchise this time last year, to the Los Angeles Clippers to team up with free-agent signing Kawhi Leonard in LA, recent speculation points to OKC preparing to part with long-time floor general Westbrook.
The Houston Rockets, weirdly enough, could be a potential destination for the former league MVP.
Per Sam Amick and Brett Dawson in The Athletic:
Rival executives have also pinpointed the Houston Rockets as a likely suitor, which would come as no surprise considering the way general manager Daryl Morey has prioritized the pursuit of stars during his entire career (not to mention the possible reunion between Westbrook and his old Thunder teammate James Harden). The notion of Westbrook sharing the floor with two other ball-dominant guards is unorthodox, to say the least, but Morey has long held the belief that landing as many elite players as possible is the path to championship glory.
Trading for Westbrook won’t be easy, though. He’ll earn upwards of $40 million per year starting in 2020 and the 30-year-old point guard has a player option for the 2022-23 season worth $46 million due to Westbrook’s supermax extension.
People around the league have also expressed concern with Westbrook’s aging past 30 due to the two-time league scoring champ’s game built around speed, agility, and athleticism. The perennial triple-double threat and eight-time All-Star has been with the Oklahoma City organization since 2008, when he was drafted fourth overall in the first round of the draft by the then–Seattle SuperSonics right before the franchise moved to the Oklahoma capital.
Westbrook and Rockets star James Harden played together in the past; Harden was the Thunder’s “first” draft pick after the relocation. The two plus Kevin Durant made up a core of young players that took the Thunder to their first NBA Finals appearance in 2012 when the lost in five games to the LeBron James Miami Heat squad.
Harden and Westbrook could potentially team up again in Houston if GM Daryl Morey is willing to deal for the expensive point guard.
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