3 options for the Rockets after Westbrook demands trade!
It was a turbulent Wednesday night in Houston, as former MVP and all-star guard Russell Westbrook informed the Rockets that he wanted to be traded after just one season in Texas.
If this wasn't enough for the new look Rockets front office to deal with, it also came with the news PJ Tucker was 'irate' about his contract situation and core players Austin Rivers, Eric Gordon and Danuel House were all frustrated with their current roles in the Houston team.
The one bright spark for the franchise and their fans was that after rumours of unhappiness', star guard James Harden announced that he is 'locked in' for the season with Houston.
One kiss after five dagger blows to heart, not the best night but Harden's commitment to the team that put their faith in him back in 2012 was a huge boost. So now, the question is, what is the next move for the Rockets ahead of the new NBA season?
OPTION 1: Pay Tucker, Trade Russ & Gordon for 2nd star and deal with House and Rivers.
If the Rockets are committed to challenging with Harden next season then they need to keep their core happy and they certainly need to add a second star that can co-exist alongside the 2018 MVP.
Russell Westbrook wants to return to being a floor general aka THE MAN of the team, like he was in OKC, his reported suitors include, both LA teams, Atlanta, Charlotte, Detroit and the New York Knicks. He favours a move where he could be the leader and the key to all the teams success so he will certainly be looking at the Eastern conference teams but if he can put his pride aside then the LA Clippers would no doubt be the perfect fit for him and the Rockets, potentially.
The Rockets have to get a second star in exchange for Russ after putting almost all their eggs in his basket just over a year ago, so if they can strike a deal with the Clippers it will most certainly involve Paul George, who struggled last season but has shown he can thrive as the no.2 star in the past alongside Russ in OKC.
PJ Tucker is a rugged defender who has been crucial for the Rockets since arriving in 2017, if they want to challenge again they must pay up and keep PJ happy in Houston.
OPTION 2: Ditch Tucker, Russ, Gordon & bring in new core incl. 2nd star.
The Rockets remain in a strong position amid this unrest because James Harden is still happy and committed so option no.2 involves them pulling the plug on the rest of the core and building a new team around Harden.
At the end of the day PJ Tucker is 35 and probably only has one or two good years left, if he is demanding money the Rockets are not 100% committed to paying, then trade him now, while he still has value.
Eric Gordon would be a great addition to any of the challengers in the league having shown he can add crucial scoring off the bench and when starting, he would likely be used as an extra chip in any trade involving Westbrook were another star involved.
OPTION 3: Trade Harden, Westbrook & Tucker and begin the rebuild.
The third option for Houston is to blow it all up and begin the rebuild, trade Harden for a young star, trade Westbrook & Tucker together for some top level picks and give bigger roles to House, Rivers & Gordon.
Miami, Philly & Brooklyn are all said to be on Hardens wish list if he were to leave Houston so if the Rockets were the ones to decide to pull the plug on The Beards time in Houston then you would think they'd try and give Harden the trade he wants.
Miami and Philly would be the ideal situations for both parties, a trade with Miami would have to involve Houston getting two of three from Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson and Bam Adebayo. All three have huge star potential and would be great to build a new look contender around.
The other option to suit Houston as well as Harden would be Philadelphia. This trade has been tipped since former Rockets GM Darly Morey was named President of basketball operations in Philly and would include one of Ben Simmons or Joel Embiid both hugely talented and heading towards their peak years. Along with one or two of the Sixers core players (Tobias Harris, Josh Richardson and Al Horford).
Charlotte & Detroit are both rumored to be interested in Russ and both have been tipped to trade up for first place in next weeks draft (currently 3rd and 7th). If the Rockets choose to commit to rebuilding they could end up with star power alongside the top pick in this years draft. They would clear serious CAP space by trading Westbrook and Tucker and would be in a position to potentially bring in a future face of the franchise.
I think the Rockets should seriously consider a rebuild, it may be the perfect time to call time of death on the Harden led, small ball Rockets.
New look head office, new head coach...new team?