Major Buzz could be headed to the Queen City with news breaking that Russell Westbrook could potentially be traded to the Charlotte Hornets.
Stadium’s Sham Charania broke the news that the Hornets are reportedly interested in former league MVP. Rumors have been circulating around NBA circles that the star point guard is frustrated with the dysfunction surrounding the Houston Rockets and star shooting guard James Harden.
If the trade does send Westbrook to Charlotte, this will be his 3rd team in three seasons.
There is a sense of uncertainty among Hornets fans about the potential trade – mainly because of the salary cap issues the franchise is trying to shed. Nic Batum, who has held the Hornets at “King’s Ransom” after not living up to his 5 yr. $120 million-dollar contract, went on record earlier this year apologizing to the Hornets franchise for “not living up” to the lucrative offer. (Can we really blame Batum for securing the bag in 2016 when he was a high commodity on the free agency market?)
Why the Hornets should pull the trigger?
Russell Westbrook is arguably the most athletic point guard in the history of the NBA. His motor is second to none and court awareness makes him an unstoppable force in transition. Westbrook’s first step makes it literally impossible for defenses to collapse on in the paint. Pairing him up with marksman Devonte Graham, who shot 40 percent from 3, could be a dangerous backcourt in a competitive Southeast division that features NBA finals runner-up Miami Heat. This move, along with the number 3 pick in this year’s upcoming NBA draft (if they’re able to keep this asset after the trade), makes the Hornets a formable threat in the division. Being a Jordan Brand athlete doesn’t hurt either.
Why the Hornets should avoid trading for Westbrook?
Westbrook has undergone several endoscopic surgeries to repair torn ligaments in his knee and fractures to his hands. Russ, who turned 32 today, is in his prime, but carries what some call baggage with his health. Batum’s contract expires next season, along with the expiring contract of Cody Zeller. This saves the Hornets in an excess of 40 million dollars. It simply doesn’t make since for the Hornets to get out of one bad contract and hop back in another. Westbrook is due over $120 million dollars over the next 3 seasons. Moreover, Mitch Kupchak, general manager of the Hornets, has repeatedly stood by his guns, stating he wants the Hornets to build from the draft.
Will Mitch gamble on the former NBA MVP, or continue to build through the draft and pay Batum 27 million just to average 4 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assist?