How the Houston Rockets can climb out of this position
In the past year, the Rockets have traded Chris Paul, Clint Capela, three first-round picks, and two pick swaps to land Russell Westbrook and maximize his performance. That’s close to what the Lakers spent to get Anthony Davis.
The Rockets won’t be able to get nearly that much back from the Knicks, but moving Westbrook isn’t just about draft picks. Russell Westbrook is owed $131.5 million over the next three seasons and moving him off the books frees up an excess of $40 million each season for the Rockets.
Houston would instantly become a player in free agency and with James Harden, it wouldn’t be hard to convince another superstar that a championship is within reach. The Rockets could alternatively use the extra money to build out a more complete roster and hitch their wagon to James Harden’s singular offensive greatness.
Either way, the Rockets would instantly go from searching for diamonds in the rough to shopping at Tiffany’s to fill out their roster.
For New York to facilitate a move for Westbrook they would have to send salary, picks, and some intriguing young talent Houston’s way. Fortunately for the Rockets, the Knicks have a cache of picks in the coming years. The Knicks could build a package centered around RJ Barrett, first-round picks, and the salary needed to facilitate the deal.
Next: What are the potential trade options?