By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Take two with Russell Westbrook and James Harden, the former Oklahoma City Thunder teammates reunited with the Houston Rockets this past season, may be over after just one season.
That’s because Westbrook officially ‘wants out’ of Houston, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
Riding as the 1B with Harden on a Rockets team that finished the regular season at 44-28, the 32-year-old Westbrook averaged 27.2 points per game (his third-highest season average and best since 2016-17), and shot a career-best 47.2 percent from the field.
Westbrook’s success wasn’t enough to save the Rockets from yet another early exit — this time losing to the eventual-champion Los Angeles Lakers in five games in the second round — but it was enough to think that this backcourt sequel could work.
But Westbrook’s desire to dip out of Houston comes after an ESPN report that indicated that both Westbrook and Harden were concerned about the Rockets’ future following an offseason shake-up in both the front office and on the coaching staff.
It’s a brutal gut-punch to the Rockets, too, as the team parted with Chris Paul, two first-round picks (2024 and 2026), and pick swaps in 2021 and 2025 to reunite Westbrook with Harden.
Where Westbrook, one of the most polarizing talents in all of basketball, goes from here is anybody’s guess.
Talking on The Ringer NBA Show this week, Kevin O’Connor noted that both the Clippers and Knicks could make plays for the former MVP. The Clippers, of course, are looking to add to their one-two of Paul George (Westbrook’s teammate in OKC) and Kawhi Leonard, and will have a fresh face running the show following the dismissal of Doc Rivers. The Knicks, meanwhile, are trying to put themselves back on the NBA map after what feels like a billion years of hell.
Westbrook has two more years left on his current deal, with a $41.3 million hit next season and a $44.2 million hit in 2021-22, as well as a $47 million player option in his Age-34 season.