1. The trade won’t make the Houston Rockets contenders
This trade would not look bad for the Rockets, but it’s unlikely that it would help them achieve their championship aspirations. Probably the biggest benefit would start with Westbrook’s contract.
With Russ making over $40 million each year over the next few years in his thirties, the Rockets could stand to benefit from unloading his contract early. With Embiid making considerably less and being much younger, he serves as a better asset and that is not including whatever other potential players would be included.
As far as fit and team impact goes, it is hard to determine what Embiid would bring to the table. Perhaps his size, defense, and versatility would compliment Harden better than Westbrook’s style of play, but Embiid is also known for being injury-prone. His competitiveness has also come into question more than once, which is something that certainly cannot be said about Russ.
Even if you believe Embiid is surely the superior player of the two, is he enough of an improvement to consider the Rockets even close to title favorites in a Western Conference as competitive as this one? Frankly, the answer is no.
Overall, the Rockets would certainly win this trade, but it would have little impact on their current goal of competing for a championship.
Why Jalen Rose thinks this trade is feasible in the slightest is a mystery. If Daryl Morey were acting as a double-agent for Houston and sabotaging the Sixers’ organization, perhaps he would give this trade some thought.
The fit of Simmons and Westbrook just does not make sense and the contract situation in Philly would be a complete nightmare. While it would probably do more good than bad for Houston, it is not a move that would solidify the Rockets as favorites to advance to the NBA Finals.
Media members have fun speculating about trade ideas like this, but don’t expect executives to take it seriously. If the Rockets decided to change their stated intentions of holding onto Russ, this would certainly not be how that gets done.