Rumor: Chris Paul wouldn’t necessarily need to be involved in a Rockets trade for Thunder star Russell Westbrook
Despite the persistent rumors that the Houston Rockets are interested in Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook, it doesn’t necessarily mean Rockets point guard Chris Paul would be traded.
ESPN’s Tim MacMahon reports:
A source said that Paul would not necessarily need to be involved in a deal that delivers Westbrook to the Rockets, although his $38.5 million salary is a perfect match with Westbrook’s. Paul has $125 million over three years remaining on his contract, while Westbrook has $171 remaining over four years, including a player option for $46.7 million in 2022-23.
Rockets general manager Daryl Morey has been searching for another star to combine forces with former league MVP shooting guard James Harden and Paul on the Rockets. In the past, it was speculated that free agent swingman Jimmy Butler could be that guy, but Butler was acquired by the Miami Heat from the Philadelphia 76ers in a sign-and-trade deal that involved four teams.
Now, with Paul George traded to the Los Angeles Clippers to team up with Kawhi Leonard, the Thunder could be looking to move point guard Russell Westbrook, too.
It would make sense to believe that the Rockets would have to trade Paul in order to acquire the constant triple-double threat in Westbrook, Harden’s former teammate in Oklahoma City.
With Kevin Durant departing the Golden State Warriors and Klay Thompson sidelined with an ACL tear, it’s believed the Western Conference is “wide open” for the taking after the Warrior’s five consecutive Finals appearances — with the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers presenting as dual threats for the top of the conference standings.
Now is prime for the Rockets to make a shake-up move, like acquiring Westbrook, in order to compete for a Finals berth.