The New York Knicks and Los Angeles Clippers are among the teams with an interest in Houston Rockets star guard Russell Westbrook, according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer.
Westbrook “wants out” of Houston and is seeking a trade after one season with the Rockets, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported.
This has been quite the offseason for the Rockets. Former coach Mike D’Antoni stepped down immediately after the season, and general manager Daryl Morey wasn’t far behind. The Rockets have since hired Stephen Silas as coach and promoted Rafael Stone to GM.
Westbrook has expressed to Rockets officials that he is “uneasy about the team’s accountability and culture,” per Charania.
Meanwhile, Marc Berman of the New York Post reported the Knicks’ top trade target has been Oklahoma City Thunder guard Chris Paul, recently linked to the Phoenix Suns. Paul was once represented by current Knicks president Leon Rose.
“The Knicks have a major competitor for Chris Paul, their top choice at point guard. And if Russell Westbrook hits the trade market, the Knicks may have a challenger for him, too,” Berman wrote.
As for Westbrook, both Rockets owner Tillman Fertitta and Stone have recently indicated they’re not looking to make any major changes to the roster.
“We’re still all-in,” Stone said. “Our goal is to win a championship. We’ll do anything we can to get us closer to that goal. The good news is we have really, really good basketball players. I’m getting a talented roster that has already won; not to the level we want but won in a big way. It’s about being very smart to keep the good stuff and be additive. You don’t want to do anything rash. You want to see if there are changes that will help.”
The NBA is expected to open the window for trades by early next week. The Knicks and Clippers are expected to be particularly in exploring roster changes.
Westbrook, 32, has $132MM remaining on his contract over the next three seasons.