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Houston Rockets star guard Russell Westbrook has reportedly requested a trade. Not surprising, as watching Westbrook and Harden fit together got worse every second. According to the Athletic, Harden is staying put despite Westbrook’s attempt to skip town and that should release some tension in Houston–for now.
UPDATE: James Harden does NOT want out of Houston despite the Westbrook news, and is “locked in” for next season, via The Athletic.— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) November 12, 2020
Westbrook took a major step back as his role shrunk on offense alongside a ball-dominant James Harden. That’s exactly what should have happened, considering Harden is one of the game’s most deadly offensive weapons. Harden controlling the ball left Westbrook, at times, standing in the corner waiting for a pass that isn’t suitable to his skillset. Says more about the mistake it was to trade for Westbrook’s play style than it does Westbrook himself.
Now, Russ wants that “floor general” role that he had back in his Oklahoma City days where he was averaging triple-doubles. Who could blame him? He’s playing on a team where he doesn’t fit and the Rockets weren’t that great in 2020. If you aren’t going to win a championship, you can at least find a team that lets you play your game. Houston’s analytics department is well documented as haters of the mid-range jump shot. Of course, mid-range jumpers being Westbrook’s go-to move. A Horrendous fit.
Who’s in play?
Teams like the Suns, Bulls, Bucks, Knicks, Cavs, and Pistons are all looking for a long-term solution at point guard. Westbrook, while being incredibly inefficient, brings fans to arenas like Allen Iverson did back in the day. Westbrook may never impact a team enough to win an NBA title, but the league is also an entertainment industry. Signing up for Westbrook’s $41.3 million/year contract until 2023 sounds bad at its surface, but it’s really not. Westbrook going to the Knicks and filling Madison Square Garden for the next three years is worth the contract alone, regardless of winning.
We’ll wait and see who gets serious with their trade inquires because they’re likely to come flooding in now.