Rockets Rumors: Westbrook, Gordon, House, Rivers, Tucker, More

Within their full report on Russell Westbrook‘s desire to leave Houston, Kelly Iko, Sam Amick, and Shams Charania of The Athletic write that the former MVP had made it known “for quite some time” that he wanted to see major changes to the Rockets‘ culture. Specifically, Westbrook was seeking more “team-wide accountability, discipline and structure,” and hoped to establish a culture similar to the one he’d helped create in Oklahoma City.

Westbrook wasn’t the only Rockets player who experienced some frustrations during the 2019/20 season. According to The Athletic’s report, Eric Gordon hasn’t been pleased with how his responsibilities and importance have diminished in recent years and has wanted a more consistent role. The Rockets reportedly discussed playing Gordon less often with Westbrook and James Harden to optimize his skill set, but Mike D’Antoni resisted changes to his staggering strategy.

Danuel House also wasn’t thrilled with his role in Houston’s offense and how he was used, according to Iko, Amick, and Charania, who say that the young forward “verbally challenged” Westbrook, Harden, and D’Antoni. Additionally, Austin Rivers were unhappy with inconsistent playing time and his usage, per The Athletic. Following one game when D’Antoni was about to sub in Rivers before changing his mind and inserting DeMarre Carroll instead, Rivers went on an “expletive-laden tirade.”

Many of those frustrations can be traced back to a lack of accountability, sources tell The Athletic. According to Iko, Amick, and Charania, during one team meeting following a January loss, Westbrook went around the room and gave suggestions about what each player could do to help reverse the team’s slide — Harden wasn’t as receptive to to criticism as other Rockets players, per The Athletic’s sources.

Concerns about the Rockets’ culture date back past the 2019/20 season, as there’s a belief the team has catered too much to its stars. When Trevor Ariza left the club in 2018, he wanted to join an organization that would give him more respect, according to The Athletic. When Houston later expressed interest in bringing back Ariza, he sought an apology that he never received, sources tell Iko, Amick, and Charania. There have also been some complaints over the years from Rockets players about the team’s style of play and its unwillingness to make adjustments.

Here’s more on the Rockets:

  • P.J. Tucker has been “irate” all season long about his contract situation, believing he’s extremely underpaid relative to his role and production, according to Iko, Amick, and Charania. Tucker feels as though he deserves a raise and has been upset by the Rockets’ unwillingness to sign him to an extension, per The Athletic.
  • D’Antoni’s and Daryl Morey‘s departures after the 2019/20 season have played a large part in creating doubt in Harden’s and Westbrook’s minds about the Rockets’ ability to sustain long-term success, according to Iko, Amick, and Charania. While both stars have had input on decisions and support the hiring of new head coach Stephen Silas, they’re concerned about the possibility of an eventual rebuild, which they’d have no interest in.
  • Retaining veteran assistant John Lucas in a key role on Silas’ staff was meant to send a “clear message” to Westbrook and Harden that Houston remains committed to contending, according to The Athletic’s report.
  • Appearing on The Ringer’s Real Ones podcast earlier this week, Austin Rivers strongly suggested that he intends to turn down his 2020/21 player option, which is worth the veteran’s minimum. “That’s something I’m going through right now with my agent,” Rivers said. “I definitely want to probably be out there on the market and just see what else is out there. But I love Houston; Houston’s still one of my main options. That’s a team I loved playing for. But there’s other teams out there that you want to look at. You owe it to yourself to at least see the best situation for yourself.”
  • In Thursday’s episode of Brian Windhorst’s Hoop Collective podcast, ESPN’s Tim MacMahon said Serge Ibaka will be high on the Rockets’ list of free agent targets this offseason, though he may be out of the club’s price range.
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34 thoughts on “Rockets Rumors: Westbrook, Gordon, House, Rivers, Tucker, More

          • Al Hirschen

            B/R is reporting: Spencer Dinwiddie, Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen, Rodions Kurucs, the No. 19 pick in this year’s draft (via the Philadelphia 76ers) and an unprotected first-round pick in 2022 would all go to Houston in the deal. In exchange, Harden makes the move to Brooklyn.

  1. Simmons>Russ

    Russell Westbrook, Eric Gordon and 2 firsts for PG13, Pat Bev and Montrez Harrell Sign and trade.

    Clippers then have Russ Kawhi Gordon Morris Zubac Lou Will Shamet and some firsts rounders.

    Rockets then have Harden PG13 ROCo Tucker Beverly Harrell House Rivers and whatever vet mins they want.

    Probably makes the clippers better for immediate success but would make the Rockets way better overall. That defence and shooting plus having a big again.

    • Nbabrothers

      Have the Knicks trade Kevin Knox and their second first round pick and their second round pick for Westbrook. Knicks get Westbrook and keep their number 8 pick and Rockets get youth with potential and three draft picks (1 of their own and two from the Knicks).

  2. DeathbyDeathwest

    Just eliminate the franchise and contract the league to 29 teams already.

    • Little_Dunker_45

      I don’t think you realize the implications to the league if something like this happens. Very very bad. Not something to hope for. Not to mention loss of jobs and impact on player and staff families. Very short sighted. Sigh.

  3. GoLandCrabs

    Rockets cater their franchise to 1 player and it has been a disaster. Harden just wants his check, film some commercials and clock out. Even Westbrook has more passion than him.

    • Curtisrowe

      Westbrook definitely has passion no matter what you think of his game. Dude is wound up.

  4. Curtisrowe

    Whether you like Westbrook or not if you’ve got to listen to guys like House, Rivers and Tucker moan?

    Tucker is irate about the contract he signed? “Hey yo, I am WAY better than I thought I was. Tear that thing up and give me a new contract”

  5. Black Ace57

    Love how Westbrook is talking about team wide accountability. All the reports of Westbrook’s last year in OKC was about the crazy amount of special treatment he got and how he would have to adjust to not getting that treatment. I think what Westbrook really wants is more favoritism.

  6. MafiaBass

    I think Westbrook should be traded to a team that has no championship aspirations, because whatever team he’s on isn’t ever going to win one.

    • hiflew

      The guy is a former league MVP and a 9 time All Star that has made the playoffs 10 out of 12 seasons in the league. That is actually a slightly better playoff percentage than LeBron’s 14/17. Why does everyone talk about him like he is Joe Bob Smith, the 12th man on the bench of the worst team in the league?

  7. KnickerbockerAl

    How long have I been saying. Only way Rockets get better is trade Westbrook. Nobody wants to play with Harden. Both GM and Coach bailed lol. Somebody in NBA should hire me. Just make the deal with Knicks. Rockets are so done …….

    • Sillivan

      Let’s make a team trade.

      Team Knicks trade for Team Rockets.

      Knicks are willing to give Tucker contract extension.

  8. KezarMike

    Hey, only one team wins it all each year, right? Westy and Hardin always choke at the end of the playoffs as they start missing all their shots … But … It’s always gonna be a blast watching them during the season. What is Russ gonna do if the Rockets say no? Retire? Haha. My guess is that the Rockets would be THRILLED to trade Russ to the Knicks for the 27th pick and Frank N.

  9. Yep it is

    Dumpster fire. Westbrook is a Headcase. No thanks to any part of that toxic place

  10. Lrtexasman

    I’d move Harden and keep Westbrook. The return for Harden would be higher. He has had a wondering eye for the west coast and I think a trade with the Warriors makes the most sense. I mentioned before the Warriors pick (2) and C Thompson gets it done. We then draft Wiseman. Wiseman at 5, Tucker at 4, House at 3, Thompson 2, Westbrook 1.

  11. El Don

    What a mess HOU is!!! They really have a problem, right? Time to blow up & become bottom feeders!
    HOU must get rid of Westbrook, Harden, House, Rivers, PJ & Gordon… at least, then you are good to go & compete!

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