With reports coming out of Russell Westbrook’s requested departure from the Houston Rockets, is a trade to the Toronto Raptors out of the realm of possibility?
The NBA offseason rumor mill has really picked up since the NBA and NBAPA reached an agreement on the amended CBA. Things got exciting real quick yesterday and a lot of teams including the Toronto Raptors could be interested in the new star on the trade market.
This tweet below caused quite the stir Wednesday afternoon. It came after reports of uneasiness in the organization after the departures of GM Daryl Morey and head coach Mike D’Antoni. Part of Shams’s report pointed out Russell Westbrook‘s desire to retain his floor general role that defined his time at the Oklahoma City Thunder. Could the freak of nature athlete be a fit on the Toronto Raptors?
First of all, Russell Westbrook is a natural point guard although he can be put into other positions because of his pure athleticism. The nature of this report makes it seem like he has a preference to remain in that position and be “the guy” in that role.
The guard position is one full of question marks for the Toronto Raptors creating an interesting possibility for the moves they could make this offseason depending on what the front office chooses to do.
The aging Kyle Lowry is the Raptors floor general himself but has one year left on his deal and looks like a potential trade candidate. Fred VanVleet is an impending unrestricted free agent and has lots of interest outside of the Toronto Raptors. His recent appearance on J.J. Redick’s podcast should also make Raptors fans uneasy. Terence Davis seems good as gone for the Toronto Raptors after his recent arrest.
Next up is Russell Westbrook’s contract. This guy has a scary money deal for the next two years with a potential for three if he opts into his player option in 2022. The cap hit goes as $41,$43,$47 million for those next three potential years. Ouch.
The Toronto Raptors are not so secretly clearing up cap space for the monster free agency class of 2021. The team’s first target is also not so secretly Giannis Antetokounmpo. Pascal Siakam‘s max contract kicking in, plus Fred VanVleet’s inevitable pay raise (in the case he can strike a deal with the Raptors) would make taking on a huge contract like Westbrook’s a big 2021 free-agent destination contender ender.
What would a Westbrook to the Toronto Raptors trade potentially look like?
This is a similar price to pay from a potential trade for Joel Embiid I wrote about earlier this offseason. The Toronto Raptors would be getting an undebatable top ten point guard in the league by every statistic possible. He and Fred VanVleet in the backcourt would really be a dream team for the Toronto Raptors.
He can really space the floor for guys like Freddy and OG and take some pressure off of Pascal Siakam. He is also extremely efficient in the paint, something the Raptors struggled with last year. The triple-double king would be an absolute stat sheet stuffer in the 6ix.
For the Houston Rockets, they will be getting a proven point guard in Kyle Lowry who might finally bring some accountability to a Rockets franchise that seems like a mix of personalities who can’t find a way to win in crunch time.
Lowry with James Harden would be something Rockets fans would have to be excited about. The Houston Rockets would also be getting a future stud on both ends of the floor in Chris Boucher. The Rockets aren’t known for their defensive prowess so getting a young rim protector like Boucher would be a big addition to that team.
Masai Ujiri and Bobby Webster have never been ones to sit back when they think they have a chance to improve their team now. They also are not afraid to make a splash and take chances for an opportunity to improve this Toronto Raptors team.
The fit with Russell Westbrook isn’t entirely easy to see from where the roster currently stands, but with the NBA draft and free agency soon upon us, things could change quickly for the Raptors. It isn’t entirely likely they take a run at Westbrook, but it is certainly possible.