Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press
After spending only one season in Houston, Russell Westbrook is hoping to move on this offseason, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported earlier Wednesday that Westbrook and James Harden had shared their “concern about the direction of the franchise” under new head coach Stephen Silas and newly promoted general manager Rafael Stone.
Meanwhile, Harden reportedly remains committed to Houston:
“Westbrook has informed team officials that he has been uneasy about the team’s accountability and culture, and has a desire to return to his prior, floor-general role in Oklahoma City,” according to The Athletic.
The 31-year-old still has three years and $132.6 million remaining on his contract. The Rockets acquired him from Oklahoma City in a trade in which they sent Chris Paul, two first-round picks and other draft considerations to the Thunder.
Westbrook was second on the Rockets with 27.2 points per game, an uptick from the 22.9 he averaged with OKC in 2018-19. He also led the team with 7.9 rebounds per game, a drop from the career-high 11.1 he posted with Oklahoma City last year.
Ahead of this offseason, trade rumors have flown involving Westbrook. Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer reported the Los Angeles Clippers and New York Knicks were interested in him (h/t Dan Feldman of Pro Basketball Talk):
“I did have multiple sources that I trust tell me that teams believe Russell Westbrook could be had, that Westbrook could be had. And I’ve heard the Clippers have interest. I’ve heard the Knicks have interest in Westbrook. And whether anything materializes there, who knows? Who knows? But the fact is is that there is a belief that a guy like Westbrook could become available.”
The Rockets have “been protective” of Westbrook and Harden in trade talks thus far, according to The Athletic.
Rockets owner Tilman Feritta said last month that the team still plans on contending despite moving on from general manager Daryl Morey and head coach Mike D’Antoni this offseason, but that may be difficult to do without Westbrook. However, Houston is “fully intending to continue building a title contender around James Harden,” per The Athletic.