Westbrook Notes: Thunder, Knicks, Rockets, Heat, CP3

After reaching deals to send Paul George to the Clippers and Russell Westbrook to the Rockets – with a Jerami Grant trade thrown in the middle for good measure – the Thunder have completed one of the speediest tear-downs in NBA history, writes Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated. Given the club’s lack of playoff success in recent years, that fresh start was needed, according to Mannix, who adds that it’s hard to imagine that Oklahoma City could have gotten more in return for its two stars.

While the Thunder – who haven’t gone through a rebuilding process since moving to Oklahoma City – didn’t necessarily want to start that process now, some members of the organization think it was “necessary, if not overdue,” per ESPN’s Royce Young, who notes that the team privately viewed the 2019/20 season as its “last, best chance at winning a title.”

As Young details, George’s trade request came as a shock, but it could also be viewed as a gift, since the circumstances surrounding it gave the Thunder tremendous leverage in their negotiations with the Clippers. Westbrook didn’t try to change George’s mind, sources tell Young, and less than a week later, Oklahoma City was able to accommodate an exit path for the former MVP as well.

The Rockets were Westbrook’s clear-cut favorite choice, a league source tells Brett Dawson and Michael Lee of The Athletic, and the longtime Thunder point guard had a significant voice in where he landed. While he also appeared open to being traded to the Heat, trade talks between Oklahoma City and Miami had quieted by Thursday, sources tell ESPN’s Zach Lowe.

We already rounded up several Rockets-related notes on Thursday’s blockbuster trade agreement that will land Westbrook in Houston and Chris Paul in Oklahoma City, but here are a few more details worth passing along:

  • Although the Thunder likely wouldn’t have sent Westbrook to a lottery team anyway, rebuilding clubs with a hole at point guard (or a general need for star talent) expressed little interest in giving up any real assets of value for him, sources tell Zach Lowe.
  • In the immediate aftermath of the George trade, Westbrook viewed the Knicks as a potential landing spot, sources tell Ian Begley of SNY.tv. It’s not known whether New York was on the list of preferred destinations that Westbrook ultimately provided the Thunder, but if OKC was focused on making a move sooner rather than later, it’s a moot point — the Knicks couldn’t have made a deal until December 15. It’s also not clear if New York had more than “lukewarm” interest in the triple-double machine, Begley adds.
  • An individual with knowledge of the talks tells Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle that Westbrook first broached the topic of a possible trade not long after the Thunder were eliminated from the playoffs in the spring. Presumably, if George hadn’t made his own trade request, Westbrook wouldn’t have pushed to be dealt either.
  • Westbrook is intrigued by the possibilities that Mike D’Antoni‘s floor-spreading offense could create for him with the Rockets, a source tells Brett Dawson and Michael Lee.
  • Having previously reported that the Heat‘s unwillingness to include multiple young players in their offer for Westbrook was a roadblock, Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald says the Thunder’s desire to include Andre Roberson‘s unwanted expiring contract in a deal with Miami was another obstacle. While Chris Paul has been mentioned as a possible alternative for the Heat, Jackson sounds skeptical that Miami would do such a deal without getting back at least one draft pick and dumping unwanted contracts, since acquiring Paul’s huge contract would compromise the team’s ability to pursue star players in future offseasons.
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25 thoughts on “Westbrook Notes: Thunder, Knicks, Rockets, Heat, CP3

  1. JonnyLucas

    Poor CP3… although, if he plays at least as well as last year, with Gallinari… Schroeder… they will compete. Not for a title, but to be a .500 team.

  2. TheTruth12

    The offseason that keeps on giving, where does CP3 go? Minnesota for Teague, Wiggins, and a protected 1st? I could really see the Knicks trading for him in December since that’s the only way they can get a star. “Hey fans we finally got a star, only he’s old af, injury prone and on a horrible deal”

    • Dave4585

      Dude get that old Knicks mentality out of your system. They are competently ran now and are in full rebuild mode after missing out on Durant and company. They will trade a lot of the signings they had this year for future assets since those players are on 1+1 deals at the deadline and continue to rebuild through the draft until 2021 when it’s another good FA Class where they will once again try to get a star.

      • johnstodder

        I think this is correct. The reaction to the story that the Knicks were reluctant to sign Durant due to injury concerns was, to me, a sign that the Knicks were turning the corner and becoming a more intelligent organization. Given their history, they could not afford to take the risk of another expensive failed contract. The Nets were in a different place entirely. It’s tempting to compare the two NYC teams, but they were starting from different places and could tolerate different levels of risk with regard to Durant. So the last thing the Knicks would want to do is become the place where Westbrook and/or Paul came to fail. It makes sense that the Knicks try to build organically, preserve their cap flexibility, and aim to add an All-Star in two years, if their young assets have blossomed the way the Nets’ did in 2018-19.

        One sign of the Knicks’ maturity would be if they could take the cliched criticism and not feel like they have to react to the back pages of the tabloids by making a splashy move. Think 1990s Yankees, Knick fans. Let your own “core 4” emerge. It doesn’t have to take that long.

      • Phattey

        Knicks are run like trash tf are you talking about Phil Jackson ran them better at least he picked decent players, all were going to hear about for the next decade is “oh man this is the year we got the cap space to sign superstars” while they get boned and sign with the nets lmao

        • washington_bonercats

          “The Knicks are competently run now”
          Lolololol maybe if you’re playing 2k bud

  3. phenomenalajs

    Yeah, it sounds like if it didn’t work with Miami for Westbrook, it wouldn’t work for Paul. Matching salary is difficult. Dragic and Johnson alone don’t match Paul’s contract and Miami can’t take in much, if any, more in salary than it sends out.

    • Unless OKC asks only for a cap relief package, and not one with starters or Miami’s few RSC guys. Draft picks in hand from Houston, they may now just want to rid themselves of the contract. CP3’s value can increase or decrease based on events early next year. Question of how they view the risk/reward. He gets hurt, he’ll be there awhile.

  4. JonnyLucas

    If they could get it done with Wiggins and Teague, I would do it. I would never add a first if I’m the wolves. Maybe OKC throws in a protected first. That contract is already an anchor, though he may be useful for one more year or so.

    • JonnyLucas

      Teague’s deal expires this year. As god awful as that Wiggins deal is, Paul’s is worse. Wiggins will at least be ok in 4 years.

      • I give no fox

        They are equally bad. The contracts won’t allow either team to improve through free agency. The reasoning for
        Minnesota would be to compete now. Wiggins being “ok” in four years doesn’t change the fact that they can’t win with him now or in the future. He’s just not that good. CP3 is at least a good player for the few games he plays each year. If you believe he makes you a playoff team, you gotta pull the trigger

  5. californiatribesman

    Contract OKC as soon as Paul is jettisoned and return them back to Seattle! This pathetic farce has gone on long enough…

  6. miked559

    I would like to see Adams play for Pop and the Spurs. They could finally have a legitimate center to play that position move Aldridge to his comfort zone as a forward.

  7. Skip, Tampa

    Any conversation of Paul to the Heat starts with the 2021, 2023 1st back to the Heat, Period.
    Would love to see Heat trade for Wiggins before Paul.
    Not real sure Butler would welcome that trade though.
    Olynik, Johnson for Wiggins straight up works.

  8. Berman is an idiot, and might actually believe that the fact that the Knicks “can’t” do a deal now, means they’ll consider it later. Nothing is impossible. But Morey offered the CP3 for nothing (into cap space) ahead of July 1st in the event Durant and KI went elsewhere. They turned down without a counter (asking for picks). So, I doubt they would have had any interest in RW, or will at any time have any in CP3. Some decisions are so simple, even the Stooges can’t get it wrong.

  9. mcmillankmm

    We know Detroit was lukewarm on Westbrook…but what about Paul? To me, Minnesota, Orlando, and Detroit could be possibilities

  10. I’m imagining the people in charge of updating 2K player models and rosters are running around screaming like that scene in Spongebob’s head where all the file cabinets are on fire and everything is chaos.

  11. DynamiteAdams

    Weirdly I can still see the Thunder completing for a low playoff seed with this roster. Sadly they won’t get far but they could make a trade for Beal or another disgruntled all star (the Nba seems to have a revolving door of these guys) to get closer.

  12. Skip, Tampa

    If Thunder don’t want to give up 2 plus picks to trade Paul, a phone call to MJ should get it done for expiring contracts. Pair him with Rozier for the next 3 years.
    Thunder keep thier picks and move on to next summer.
    Heck, be surprised if Riley even accepted a call from Presti right now. Then again, like Westbrook, they can just pay and play him.
    No biggie, they got nothing in him at this point anyway.

  13. x%sure

    Houston will be mixing the fastball Russ with the curveball Harden (regarding favorite scoring styles).

    I guess one could call Gordon the slider since he had a bad year and Rivers the changeup since he will make mistakes of overconfidence after a fast start.

  14. x%sure

    The window for the current Pistons (with Griffin and Drummond) is the same for Chris Paul (to 2022).

    Detroit will be able to offer expirings Tony Snell and Reggie Jackson for CP3 (and 1 or 2 firsts) when Snell becomes trade-eligible. They would be less than a million short so OKC would need to open two roster spots to do it but they get about $8mil in savings to do it with.

    To include Roberson with CP3, they would have to take Galloway and Kennard also. Not sure that add is worth it for them esp since Detroit would likely require an additional first to do it.

    Anyway that would be a few months away.

    • Tommy313

      No thanks Paul and griffin had their chance together and it didn’t work. I think the hornets and cavs should try to do a three team trade. Paul to hornets mkg n Batum to cavs and knight, and other expiring contracts to the thunder. Maybe hornets try to get love too.

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