1. The Houston Rockets will have a hard time landing a young star player
The main reason why the Rockets should consider making a trade for Russell is simply because they likely won’t have an opportunity at landing a proven star player any other way. The reality is that the Rockets are ways away from being a legitimate Western Conference contender, and especially with the Golden State Warriors presumably getting Klay Thompson back fully healthy and the Los Angeles Lakers returning to a clean bill of health.
In other words, why would a marquee player want to come to the Rockets at this point in time? Maybe when they become contenders again, but how long will that take? And even then, that’s no guarantee.
With this being said, the days of the Houston Rockets landing a All-Star level player via free agency (a la 2013 with Dwight Howard) are likely gone for the near future, meaning the Rockets will likely have to do so via trade, much like they did when James Harden became available in 2012. This is especially the case with Russell being just 25-years-old, as he fits within the Rockets’ timeline and can be a building block for years to come.
Also, the asking price for Russell is likely not steep, and as mentioned previously, such a trade would allow the Rockets’ front office to off-load one of their older, more expensive guards in either John Wall or Eric Gordon. And although Russell isn’t a superstar player, he’s had steady averages of 21 points and 6 assists and even upped his scoring to 23 points in 2019-20.
Not to mention the fact that he’s proven to be able to carry a team, much like he did with the 2018-19 Brooklyn Nets, when he was the de-facto star player and carried them into the postseason. And in the NBA, games are won on the heels of star players and typically the teams that don’t have such players tend to roam at the bottom of the standings.
With all of this being said, the Rockets would be wise to kick the tires on a trade for D-Lo.