Talking Fake Trades Because Basketball Is Fun Part 2 – Westbrook Edition

By Matt Esposito

“Zach, I’m gonna start up a trade idea article when we’re done with the podcast, if you wanna join in just let me know.” – Me

“Idk what I would even do with Russ, send him to Barcelona.” – Zach

Welp, not the most auspicious start to a blog, but at least we know Zach’s thoughts on the former MVP. For what it’s worth, I spent a half hour googling the possibility of an intercontinental trade between the NBA and Liga ACB. I decided to stay stateside with my fake trades, however.

This Shams tweet was sandwiched in my timeline between news about democracy’s current implosion and a certain Jeffrey Toobin fellow. Don’t worry, I didn’t scroll past it. If anything I did a doubletake. Earlier that day the talk had been about some possible James Harden trade destinations. Needless to say, I’m pretty excited. You can tell because I’m moving right along and not including any hyperlinks in this paragraph.

Trade # 1 – Orlando Finally Does Something Cool

Well, I guess taking a chance on Markelle Fultz was kinda dope. Besides that, Orlando was in need of a shot in the arm. They’re a playoff team that loves to win the opening game of the postseason but then slowly bleed out after. Adding Russell Westbrook doesn’t exactly scream “championship parade!” but it increases the chances the Magic could *gulp* advance past the first round.

A team with Vuc, Russ, Fournier, the perpetually underrated Terrence Ross and a hopefully healthy Jonathan Isaac would be pretty damn competitive. On the flipside, Houston gets their paws on Aaron Gordon; someone destined to be their small-ball five and the most athletic pick-and-roll player Harden will have ever played with. It truly is an excellent fit. Fultz is a wildcard asset and Khem Birch would bring size. Call it into League office already!

Trade # 2 – Each Team Hates It But Does It

Yup, you read the subheading correctly. Houston gets a floor-spacing big who proved he could be an elite defender in the right scheme. Turns out, the Rockets need just that. Eric Bledsoe it a tough pill to swallow, mostly because of his contract. That’s the price you pay, however. At least he can defend the opposing team’s best guard. DJ Wilson is in there to make the cap work. Plus, I’m not mathematician but Houston gets to shave about $10 million-ish off of their books. Their owner may be looking to do just that.

Milwaukee has to do something, right? If not they risk losing Giannis. With Chris Paul rumored to be headed for Biden-flipped-it! Arizona, pickings are getting slim. Enter Westbrook. A trio of Middleton, Giannis and Russ will either implode Biden-flipped-it! Wisconsin into a gravitational blackhole or make the Finals. There is no in-between. Call it into League office already!

Trade #3 – A Bird In The Hand…

is worth two in the bush…lol. The Pacers have a Victor Oladipo problem. The idea of re-signing Oladipo to a large extension gives me the same sensation as when I see a police officer pull out behind me, even though I know I’m not doing anything illegal. Bad vibes all around. For Houston, however, they can take a gamble on someone once considered to be as talented as peers like Donovan Mitchell and Jamal Murray. Plus, Jeremy Lamb returns to his ancestral draft home.

Indiana takes the sure thing in Westbrook. And when I say sure, I mean someone who will shoot you out of as many games as he will shoot you into. Still, the Pacers have a tough time acquiring stars in free agency so they must look to other means. A squad of Westbrook, Brogdon, Turner, Sabonis and TJ Warren is…really freaking good.

BONUS – Shout to TradeNBA.com, the best trade machine alive.

BONUS BONUS – Rumored Westbrook suitors that I’m not buying

  1. Detroit Pistons: With a Sekou Doumbouya, Luke Kennard and a decent draft pick, Detroit may be looking to rebuild. Derrick Rose is on an expiring and could be flipped for a late first *cough-Celtics-cough.* Blake is allegedly healthy and his contract is more tolerable than what you think. I’m not sure they want to go all in right Westbrook right now.
  2. New York Knicks: It is easy to talk yourself into the idea that new management wants to make a splash. Westbrook is the perfect player for Madison Square Garden however, new management may actually be…dare I say…competent? I’m counting them out.
  3. Charlotte Hornets: The Michael Jordans are rumored to want Westbrook. MJ probably has an obsession with Russ’s competitive demeanor and Nic Batum helps make the trade logistics work. But does Westbrook and some combination of the stud PJ Washington, Terry Rozier/Devonte’ Graham, and an underrated coach make any sense at all? Nope. Which is why I might have just talked myself into this…

BONUS BONUS BONUS – We discussed trades and more with Gerald Brown from Sirius Radio. Take a listen and subscribe, thanks!

Published by Matt Esposito

Founder/Writer for Theplaygrounder.com and contributor to Red’s Army Twitter: @Mattesposito_

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