Get ready for RWB and BB in DC. The Houston Rockets honored a trade request by Russell Westbrook and shipped the nine-time All-Star to the Washington Wizards in an exchange for former #1 pick John Wall and a 2023 first-round draft pick.
Westbrook, 32, has $133 million and three years remaining on his hefty contract, including a one-year player option worth $47 million.
In his one season with Houston, Westbrook averaged 27.2 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 7.9 assists per game. Before the Oklahoma City Thunder traded Westbrook for Chris Paul, Westbrook averaged a triple-double in three consecutive seasons, including 31.6 points, 10.6 rebounds, and 104. assists during the 2016-17 season.
The Oklahoma City Thunder (then the Seattle Sonics) selected Westbrook with the #4 pick in the 2008 NBA Draft. Westbrook averaged 23.2 points, 8.3 assists, and 7.1 rebounds over a 12-year career.
Earlier rumors suggested that the Rockets would trade Westbrook to the New York Knicks or Charlotte Hornets. Yet again, the Knicks lost out on another big name.
Wall Health Risk?
Wall, 30, hasn’t played in two years and has health questions surrounding his future. He almost recovered from heel surgery when he blew out his Achilles and missed all of last season. In 32 games in 2018, Wall averaged 20.7 points and 8.7 assists. In eight seasons with the Wiz, he averaged 19 points and 9.2 assists per game.
Wall and backcourt mate Bradley Beal had chemistry problems. Beal wanted Wall to pass the ball more, and Wall wanted to shoot more. The two butted heads and there’s only one basketball, which is why the Wizards shopped Wall to the highest bidder.
The Wizards selected Wall (Kentucky) with the top pick in the 2010 NBA Draft.
The Wizards are 200/1 long shots to win the 2021 NBA title, according to the Circa Sports Book in Las Vegas.
Houston Had Lots of Problems
Westbrook struggled in the postseason with 17.9 ppg. He had recently recovered from COVID-19 and nursed a sore quad in the playoffs, but the Rockets’ small ball experiment failed.
The Rockets were uneventfully knocked out of the playoffs once again. The loss marked the end of the Mike D’Antoni era in Houston. The team with championship aspirations never made it to the NBA Finals. The team split up with both the general manager and head coach, leaving both of their star players demanding trades. James Harden and Westbrook were not interested in rebuilding under rookie head coach Stephen Silas.
By trading Westbrook for Wall, the Rockets were able to swap an equal value contract. Wall has three more years left on his contract that’s also worth $133 million. His contract ends at the conclusion of the 2023 season.
On Deck: Harden Trade Time
Harden also requested a trade from the Houston Rockets and listed a few teams he’d like to go to. One of them was the Brooklyn Nets. The Nets expressed interest, but they have yet to finalize a trade. Harden would like to link up with his former teammate, Kevin Durant. In addition, D’Antoni is an assistant coach on Steve Nash’s staff. Harden led the league in scoring over the previous three seasons as the quarterback in D’Antoni’s spread offense.
When Daryl Morey accepted the general manager opening with the Philadelphia 76ers, the ex-Rockets GM wasn’t shy in expressing his love for Harden. The Sixers would have to ship out Ben Simmons and cough up multiple first-round picks for Harden.
The Golden State Warriors are the latest team to express interest in Harden.