NBA Rumors: Houston Seeking A Westbrook Reunion?


The NBA Playoffs are not even halfway through, and yet the offseason rumor mill is already swirling with potential trades on the horizon.

The latest (and juiciest) rumor involves rumblings that the Houston Rockets may be looking to reunite with Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook.

According to Sports Illustrated writer Eric Eulau, Spotrac's Keith Smith mentioned that there is a "standing offer" in place between the Lakers and the Rockets, if the Lakers wanted to pull the trigger this offseason.

"There’s considerable reporting that Pelinka has a standing offer to send Westbrook to the Houston Rockets for John Wall’s nearly-matching contract. The catch? LA will have to surrender one of the two tradable first round picks (in 2026, 2027 or 2028) they have left. The real question: Can the Lakers do better in a trade?" Smith wrote.

This is an offer that originally materialized during this season's trade deadline, according to Yahoo Sports reporter Chris Haynes. Haynes said that the sticking point of why the Lakers declined the trade was because they did not want to give up the first round pick that the Rockets coveted in order to take Westbrook off of the Lakers' hands.

While the Lakers held strong at the trade deadline, opting to keep Westbrook in favor of giving up a first round pick, the fact of the matter is is that this Houston trade offer might be the best option they will be entertained with this entire offseason, and might be something the Lakers should seriously consider.

The Westbrook experiment in La La Land was an unsuccessful one, to say the least. Westbrook's playstyle obviously did not gel with the rest of the Lakers team all season, and from a production side of things, Westbrook's scoring output of 18.5 ppg ranked as the third lowest of his entire career.

The team floundered as a result, finishing the season with a lowly record of 33-49 despite having championship expectations at the beginning of the season. And while injuries were a significant factor, Westbrook played in all but four games himself and just did not impact winning in the same way that other "stars" would under similar circumstances.

It's hard to see the Lakers running it back with Westbrook after such a disappointing season, but it is also difficult to offload Westbrook's contract, since he is owed over $47 million next season, which would be the final year of his current contract. Not exactly an enticing contract for other teams around the league to take back.

But, with the Rockets, they have a player in John Wall who is also due to make over $47 million in his final year next season, and after a season of sitting out every game, it is apparent that Wall is looking for a change of scenery. And the Lakers might be that perfect scenery.

In a 40-game sample size back in 2020-21, Wall showed he could still be a great contributor on the court, despite his injury history. That season, Wall averaged 20.6 points, 6.9 assists, and 1.1 steals for a rebuilding Rockets squad.

Wall is an injury-prone guard, which could prove to be a risk for a Lakers team that seems to have chronic injury issues already, but Wall could also prove to be a better fit than Westbrook on the court, which is a risk-reward that the Lakers should consider rolling the dice on.

Because Wall and Westbrook are making similar amounts in the final year of their current deals, it ultimately does not hurt the Lakers to take a chance on Wall, especially because they can just opt to not re-sign him if it does not work out, which will open up tons of cap space for the 2023-24 season.

Losing a future first rounder might sting a little, but the Lakers have never been a team that has really relied on the draft to acquire talent, and would ultimately benefit a team like Houston more.

Alongside of the first rounder, the Rockets would also get back a player in Westbrook who previously thrived in his lone season in Houston. Westbrook was an All-Star that year, averaging 27.2 ppg, 7.0 assists, and 7.9 rebounds. 

While Westbrook may not be able to offer that same type of All-Star production anymore, he should be able to provide a steady veteran presence for a team that is loaded with young talent and is looking to take the next step and compete for a spot in the NBA Playoffs. 

The Houston offer could prove to ultimately benefit both teams, and at worst, shouldn't hurt either team, given their current circumstances already.

It will definitely be worth keeping a close eye on this upcoming offseason to see if the Lakers and Rockets decide to come together as trading partners.

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