Rockets: Bismack Biyombo explains why Hornets need Russell Westbrook
Former Charlotte Hornets big man Bismack Biyombo explained the value that Houston Rockets guard Russell Westbrook could bring to Charlotte.
Houston Rockets general manager Rafael Stone faces his first tough test, as 2019-20 All-NBA guard Russell Westbrook has reportedly made it known that he wants to leave the franchise, citing accountability concerns, cultural concerns, and concerns with his role in the offense.
The Rockets have reportedly canvassed the league in light of Westbrook’s trade request, and have found challenges, in part due to his salary. Westbrook is owed more than $80 million over the next two years and holds a player option of $47 million for the 2022-23 season, when he will be 33- years-old, which he seems certain to exercise.
But Westbrook showed during the 2019-20 season that he has alot left in the tank, as he was one of only three players to have at least 1500 points, 450 rebounds, and 400 assists, with the other two players being LeBron James and Luka Doncic. There have been several teams that have expressed interest in Westbrook, including the New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls, LA Clippers, and Charlotte Hornets.
The latter team is an intriguing name, as Westbrook is currently signed to Jordan Brand, which is Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan’s brand. But aside from that, the Hornets have rarely had the opportunity to land a superstar and super-max player like Russell Westbrook, as the closest they came was Kemba Walker, who is a tier below Westbrook.
Biyombo explains how Houston Rockets’ Russell Westbrook could help Hornets
On Saturday, former Hornets center Bismack Biyombo explained the value that Westbrook would bring to the Hornets, while speaking on Sirius XM’s NBA Radio.
“In order for you to help young guys to understand about winning, you have to put winners around them. You need more people that know and understand the game that have been part of a winning culture to continue to build.
I’ve not been in the media so this is my first time hearing it, but I love Russ. I’m sure whether he stays in Houston or whether he goes, he’ll be just fine. That guy plays as hard as anybody, so I’m not really worried about him.”
Westbrook could certainly benefit a team like the Hornets, who haven’t made the playoffs since the 2015-16 season. In spite of finishing with a 23-42 record during the 2019-20 season, the Hornets finished with the ninth seed in the Eastern Conference, which was to expected with them having lost Kemba Walker last offseason.
Westbrook has carried a crew of role players to the playoffs in the much tougher Western Conference, as the 2016-17 Oklahoma City Thunder team finished with the sixth seed in the West, which resulted in Westbrook winning the MVP award.
The Rockets figure to be able to get a better package than what Charlotte could offer, unless a third team is involved, which is certainly possible. But Biyombo is right in that Westbrook could certainly benefit the Hornets.