Rockets desperate to make Russell Westbrook trade work

There are no shortage of obstacles to the Rockets getting Russell Westbrook in a three-team trade.

The salary machinations — Westbrook makes $38.5 million this upcoming season, as does Chris Paul, with James Harden not far behind at $32.7 million — are tough. Finding a third team is an issue. The on-court fit, with three ball-dominant guards, is hard to figure out. The chemistry, after Harden and Paul were allegedly unhappy with each other during the Western Conference Finals, doesn’t help matters.

The Rockets are pursuing a three-team trade for Westbrook anyway, per ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.

It seems that a Westbrook trade, in some shape or form, might be inevitable. He reportedly gave a shortlist to the Thunder of teams he wants to play for, with the Miami Heat (where he’d potentially form a star duo of him and Jimmy Butler) at the top. The Rockets, however, are the most tantalizing option.

In a Western Conference that is currently a mess of two-star tandems, Westbrook would give the Rockets a big three. Such a move would completely shake up the NBA, for the third time this summer, and put Houston squarely in the title conversation.

Of course, the on-court questions in such a scenario would be very real. Harden used nearly 40 percent of Houston’s possessions last year, Westbrook used 30.1 percent of OKC’s and has led the league in the category before. According to, usage rate is the percentage of team plays used by a player on the court, and is calculated by adding field-goal attempts, possessions ending in a free-throw attempt and turnovers, and dividing that number by the team’s number of possessions.

The talent would be undeniable, and perhaps enough to overcome whatever issues might arise.

Certainly Daryl Morey seems to think so.