The NBA’s offseason continues to be the best among all four major North American sports leagues.
Houston has agreed to trade Russell Westbrook to Washington for John Wall and a first-round pick, sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) December 3, 2020
The 32-year-old Westbrook is on the move after just one season with the Rockets. He averaged 27.9 points, 7.9 rebounds and 7 assists while shooting just 25.9% from beyond the arc. Despite his impressive numbers, Houston’s net rating improved by 1.3 points per 100 possessions, with Westbrook on the bench.
Former Rockets’ general manager Daryl Morey acquired Westbrook last offseason in hopes he would make a good pairing with James Harden. Houston rolled with a smaller lineup, electing to play without a traditional center throughout much of last season. Westbrook and Harden are both ball-dominant players who never found the right chemistry together.
Wall missed most of the 2019-20 campaign after injuring his Achilles. The 30-year-old averaged 20.7 points and 8.7 assists over 32 games with the Wizards last season. Washington was rumored to want to see how the team would do with a healthy Wall and Bradley Beal in the lineup, but the organization decided to sever ties with its point guard.
The No. 1 pick of the 2010 draft has failed to live up to expectations in the nation’s capital. The Wizards have been unable to advance past the second round of the playoffs since taking Wall a decade ago.
The salaries worked out perfectly for the trade. Both Westbrook and Wall are due just over $135 million over the next three seasons.
ESPN’s Tim McMahon says Houston doesn’t plan on moving Harden for the time being.
Rockets source: Stance on James Harden has not changed. Houston hopes to be competitive with him this season and does not envision a scenario where Harden would be traded before the opener.— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) December 3, 2020
The Harden/Wall pairing seems like a lateral step for the Rockets. Unless new head coach Stephen Silas completely revamps the iso-heavy offense we have seen Harden shine in over the past few seasons, it will be a clunky fit.
What do you think of the trade? Do you think Houston will finish above the Golden State Warriors in the standings this season?