I’m listening, But it’s Probably a Wrong Fit
There are several teams across the league that simply don’t make sense for the Houston Rockets guard, as they are bad fits. Let’s delve into the logic behind why these teams don’t make for ideal destinations for Russ.
Why it could happen: The Clippers could come up empty-handed, as the Lakers could be this season’s champions. With the stakes astronomically high, Kawhi Leonard could demand more help or simply leave. Steve Balmer is the richest owner in the NBA and he might think using his personal wealth while other teams are financially constrained is a genius way to push the Clippers over the top.
Does Russ even fit? Well, sort of. Paul George is a great off-ball scorer. Kawhi is an iso beast and has a reliable jump shot. Russ could initiate the offense and George and Kawhi could feast on collapsed defenses, but it’d come at a heavy cost. The Clippers have the capability to swing a trade for Russell Westbrook, but…
Why it won’t happen: Why would they? The Clippers are one of the three best teams in the league and LeBron will be a year older. If they don’t win it all, why not run it back? The Clippers would go from having one of the deepest rosters to becoming one of the thinnest.
Kawhi’s load management would be more of a liability and bench units would lack the same punch. For the salaries to match and the trade to be legal, the Clippers would have to send at least four players to Houston.
This package would likely include Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams and Ivica Zubac. If the NBA season was a seven-game series, adding Westbrook might make sense, but since it’s 82 games and then four postseason series, the Clippers likely believe they’re better off with more depth.
Why it could happen: Giannis Antetokounmpo could use his “superstar approaching an extension” influence and demand that the Bucks get Westbrook. After watching Giannis’ All-Star game Draft, this move would solidify him as an Isiah Thomas-level GM.
Why it won’t happen: The Bucks are the best team in the league record-wise over the last two seasons. Why change? Even if they do decide to change it up, Westbrook does not fit with their offensive philosophy of surrounding Giannis with credible 3-point threats.
Giannis could demand change, but there is no way the Bucks would view Westbrook as the answer, unless, of course, Giannis says he is the answer.
Why it could happen: The Heat have a lot of open cap space and are in win-now mode.
Why it won’t happen: Jimmy Butler and Westbrook play a very similar brand of basketball and the Heat are staring at a Bam Adebayo extension. Westbrook might make the Heat better next season, but he probably lowers the ceiling long term.
Why it could happen: The Cavaliers actually have the contracts to make a deal work. There is a world where the Cavs are able to move Kevin Love and a few other guys to get Westbrook. Love would be a great fit for Houston. He’s a stretch four that can get buckets in the post.
In many ways, this could push Houston’s offense past the stratosphere into the mesosphere, but it would come at a serious cost defensively.
Why it won’t happen: The problem is that it would mean the Cavs would have to punt on their rebuild. The move would make the Cavs better immediately, but into what? Competing for the eighth seed?
They used premium draft picks on two young score-first guards. The addition of Westbrook would make one or both redundant and the Cavs would be taking on a ton of salary. But hey, maybe having a core that’s reminiscent of the early 2000s in Westbrook and Drummond is the future of the NBA.
Next: Bad Timing