According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Russell Westbrook wants out of Houston.
This makes for a sticky situation for the Houston Rockets team in win-now mode with a new head coach, and few assets available to improve the roster with the start of the 2020-21 season about a month away from tip-off.
Earlier on Wednesday, ESPN came up with a report about Russell Westbrook and James Harden expressing concern about the direction of the franchise moving into the upcoming season. A few hours later, Charania dropped the report that Westbrook has informed Houston officials that he is uneasy with the Rockets’ accountability and culture, and a desire to return to a role similar to the floor general role he had over the first 11 years of his career when he played for Oklahoma City.
Rockets’ new head coach Stephen Silas replaced Mike D’Antoni on October 28. While Kelly Iko and Charania reported that the organisation centrepiece James Harden remains “locked-in” for the upcoming season, it is clear that Silas could be navigating choppy waters in Houston before the season even begins.
Other than hiring Silas, Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta recently promoted longtime staffer Rafael Stone to the position of general manager. Silver made it clear last week that Houston remains committed to chatting titles with both Harden and Westbrook serving as key players.
Westbrook, who turns 32 on Thursday, is owed $131.5 million over the next three seasons along with a $46.7 million option for the 2022-23 season. Westbrook struggled during the NBA restart after arriving at the bubble late since he contracted Covid-19. The 2016-17 MVP and nine-time All-Star, Westbrook also suffered a strained right quadriceps in August that further hindered his game.