This year, the Houston Rockets were once again eliminated from the playoffs in a situation that has become all too familiar for the franchise. Mike D'Antoni left the organization and General Manager Daryl Morey stepped down after 14 years with the team. While the team will be making some major decisions before the 2020-21 season begins, reports are now speaking about the franchise wanting to trade star guard Russell Westbrook.
As per reports, Morey's stepping down may trigger a Westbrook trade. The New York Knicks – who have reportedly been fixated on OKC Thunder's Chris Paul and Indiana Pacers' Victor Oladipo – could be interested in a big deal if it involves Russell Westbrook. Further reports add that the Rockets could promote their current executive Vice President Rafael Stone to General Manager.
Comparing contracts, Westbrook has $85.5 million left with two years, with a player option for the third. Paul, on the other hand, has $85.5 million for two years without a player option. While Paul could help elevate the Knicks, Westbrook and his consistent scoring could benefit them in their aim for a title. Additionally, reports also mention Paul asking for a "very high" price and his preference to play for an immediate title contender.
Back in 2008, the Knicks were aiming to draft Westbrook but picked Danilo Gallinari as the then-Seattle Supersonics went for the 31-year-old star. If the Knicks want to pursue Westbrook again, they could trade their seven first-round picks in the next four years. Players like Frank Ntilikina, Kevin Knox and Dennis Smith Jr could also be traded for Westbrook.
At the moment, the Knicks have enough cap space to absorb Westbrook and his contract completely. This season, Wesbtrook was pivotal for the Rockets' victories, scoring consistently throughout the season. He averaged 27.2 points, 7 assists and 7.9 rebounds this season, second only to James Harden. In December last year, Wesbtrook was reported to be contemplating a trade after mixed performances from the Houston Rockets.