Someone had to do it.
After the Knicks were linked to All Star guard Russell Westbrook as a possible trade target, the Wizards pulled the trigger Wednesday night, sending oft-injured star John Wall and a first-round pick to the Houston Rockets, according ESPN. The Athletic reports that there are protections on the pick through the 2026 Draft.
After the Bucks sent three first round picks (and George Hill) to the Pelicans for Jrue Holiday, seemingly raising the price for another elite guard in the 32-year-old Westbrook, the Knicks seemed to balk at a blockbuster of their own in favor of a more gradual rebuild, as previously reported by The Post’s Marc Berman.
Westbrook averaged 27.2 points per game last season, and has two years (plus an option for 2022-23) left of an absurd five year, $206 million contract. If Washington were to pick up his option for that season, Westbrook would be owed over $47 million, per Spotrac.
The 30-year-old Wall missed the entirety of last season due to injury, and combined for just 73 regular season games in the two years prior. Wall is currently in the second of a four-year, $171 million contract, with an option for the last season that would cost the Rockets over $47 million too.
Despite Westbrook’s departure from Houston and James Harden’s apparent desire to join Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn, the Rockets are not intent on blowing it up.
A team source told ESPN the team expects to be competitive this season and doesn’t envision a scenario where Harden is traded before the opener.