Does the Rockets acquiring Russell Westbrook make the off-season a success? Here’s my take.
By now, you’ve surely heard the news. The Rockets have acquired Russell Westbrook and sent away Chris Paul. Prior to that move, the Rockets have had an unsuccessful off-season in the eyes of the fans. Does this trade automatically make it a success? For starters, let’s re-cap Houston’s off-season.
After Houston was eliminated from the postseason, there was apparent dysfunction between James Harden and Chris Paul and allegedly a trade demand made by Chris Paul. Even though his trade request was initially denied, it put the team in a negative light in the eyes of the national media.
In addition, the Rockets said they wanted to add another star, and that star was Jimmy Butler. Well, Daryl Morey swung and missed on Butler.
After seeing reserve big man Nene choose to opt out and become a free agent, Houston suddenly had a dire need for a back up big man. The Rockets made it known that they were interested in adding Kevon Looney and JaVale McGee, however each of those players were signed by other Western Conference contenders.
The Rockets missed out on quality role players such as JaMychal Green and Avery Bradley, although it’s not known if the team was ever targeting either of the two. But they both would have looked great in a Rockets uniform.
Despite all of that, the Rockets were able to make a splash move and land Russell Westbrook. Does this trade reverse everything else listed above? I would say so, as they were able to keep PJ Tucker, Clint Capela and Eric Gordon while adding Westbrook. The reason I view it as a success is because adding Westbrook simply makes the team better.
Even if you’re playing devil’s advocate and don’t agree that “The Brodie” improves Houston’s roster, he certainly doesn’t make them worse. The Rockets also joined the NBA’s new trend of dynamic duos, which includes the Lakers’ duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the Clippers’ duo of Paul George and Kawhi Leonard and the Nets’ duo of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving (once Durant is healthy). Although that’s become the new trend, how many teams can say they have 2 MVPs as part of their dynamic duo? Or that their duo has previous experience playing together? Only the Rockets. On top of that, the Rockets have succeeded in their goal of adding another star.
Prior to this move, the Rockets decided to take care of home by keeping Danuel House, Austin Rivers and Gerald Green. Those are moves that look like home run moves now with Houston adding Westbrook, as the role players generally have a large influence on the team. In addition, the guards would give Westbrook and Harden the opportunity to rest and play less minutes.
Prior to this splash move, the Rockets had a failure of an off-season in the eyes of many. It’s amazing how one move can change the narrative altogether. The Rockets were able to get out from under Chris Paul’s contract, which is arguably one of the worst contracts in the league aside from John Wall. Let’s also not forget that Westbrook had many suitors and was being heavily recruited by the Miami Heat.
In my eyes, the Westbrook trade has made the Rockets’ off-season a successful one. This is because the Rockets were able to steal him away from the Miami Heat, re-sign previous Houston guards to help Brodie rest more often, and also get the CP3 contract off the team’s payroll.
After making this one move, the narrative should switch from how Daryl Morey has gotten out-done by the Lakers and Clippers, to how Morey is back at it again and back to his normal ways of being a brilliant General Manager.