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Should James Harden/Russell Westbrook be questioning the Rockets future?

Houston Rockets James Russell Westbrook (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Houston Rockets James Russell Westbrook (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
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Russell Westbrook (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Russell Westbrook (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Assessing the Russell Westbrook trade for the Houston Rockets

Early in the offseason, rumors of Westbrook to the Knicks perked up. Recently it has been revealed that the Clippers could be in on the All-NBA guard as well. In a weak free-agent class, contenders are looking to upgrade their rosters through the trade market.

Russell Westbrook could be one of the most sought after trade candidates, if made available. Ironically, a robust return for Westbrook could help right the wrongs of acquiring Westbrook in the first place.

The Houston Rockets’ inability to dip into the free-agent and trade market is largely a result of their acquisition of Russell Westbrook. His salary is over $40 million for each of the next three seasons and the Rockets gave up multiple first-round picks to get him. His perceived availability stems from this simple reality that teams know the Rockets need both cap space and draft picks and moving Westbrook would be the easiest way to alleviate those woes.

The Clippers have been linked to Westbrook, but a deal is unlikely to materialize. While the trade would get NBA Twitter firing, there is almost no chance that it happens.

The Clippers, due to their trade for Paul George and signing of Kawhi Leonard, have $115 million in salary commitments for next season and have offloaded most of their upcoming first-round picks. Russell Westbrook has $41 million in salary for next season, which means the Clippers would have to match salary and include draft capital. Not to mention that the Rockets would be helping a direct rival in the Western Conference.

The only real offer the Clippers have for Russell Westbrook would have to include Paul George., which is why the deal has almost no chance of happening. The Clippers need to get better and moving Paul George for Russell Westbrook doesn’t achieve that goal.

Russell Westbrook may very well be traded this offseason but it would be a shock if he was traded to the Clippers. The Knicks remain a realistic landing spot but Westbrook did not help his trade value this season. The Rockets won’t be able to recoup what they invested last offseason in Westbrook, which would be a hard pill to swallow. Not to mention it might upset the only player the Rockets can’t afford to lose.

Next: Could James Harden force his way out?

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