As the NBA 2020-21 season nears, there are an increasing number of trade rumours surrounding Houston Rockets guard Russell Westbrook. While reports add that the star himself demanded a trade, there has been no confirmation about any details. The New York Knicks have been linked to the 32-year-old for months, while Michael Jordan's Charlotte Hornets are also considered to be interested in acquired Westbrook.
As per the New York Times' Marc Stein, the Knicks and Hornets are the only two teams who have a "verified trade interest" in Westbrook. The Knicks have cap space to acquire Westbrook and have reportedly been looking for a star who can help lead their team to the playoffs this year. The Hornets were a recent addition to the list of teams trying to trade for Westbrook. It was reported that the team is hesitant to let go of their No. 3 Draft pick, despite Michael Jordan urging the front office to sign the 2017 NBA MVP.
There is belief in some league corners that the Hornets’ desire to trade for Russell Westbrook could increase if they miss out on LaMelo Ball in Wednesday’s draft— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) November 17, 2020
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Stein provided more details about the Westbrook-Hornets trade, which might only happen under some circumstances. He stated that the Hornets desire to trade for Westbrook might go up if they fail to acquire LaMelo Ball during Wednesday's draft. However, Stein mentioned that the teams' interest is accompanied with "many caveats".
I'm told there is a bit of divide in Charlotte on Russell Westbrook. Some see him, with a few other additions, as enough to get the Hornets into playoff contention again the East. Others see the best path forward to keep a clean cap sheet after this season. https://t.co/D68bAIUpIq— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) November 12, 2020
Additionally, reports have discussed Westbrook not being enough to lead the Knicks to the success they are seeking immediately. Yet, the Knicks are apparently aware of their advantage and do not want to give away any of their key future assets. New York Post's Marc Berman added that while the Knicks can absorb Westbrook's remaining $130 million contract, they would benefit if the deal includes Julius Randle and Dennis Smith Jr as well.