Sports | November 12, 2020 1:00 pm

Unsatisfied with Rockets, Russell Westbrook Trying to Shoot Way Out of Houston

Turning 32 today, Westbrook wants the Rockets to grant his birthday wish and trade him

Unsatisfied with Rockets, Russell Westbrook Trying to Shoot Way out of Houston
Russell Westbrook during the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Getty Images

Turning 32 today, Russell Westbrook is reportedly hoping to get the Rockets to grant his birthday wish: a trade out of Houston.

Days after it was reported Westbrook and his teammate James Harden were uncertain about the direction of the franchise following the departures of head coach Mike D’Antoni and general manager Daryl Morey, it sounds as if the one-time MVP has decided Houston has a problem and he doesn’t want to stick around to help them solve it.

Though Harden remains “locked in” for the Rockets despite his concerns, Westbrook “wants out of Houston” and “has expressed the sentiment to Houston officials,” sources told The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

“Westbrook has informed team officials that he has been uneasy about the team’s accountability and culture, and wants to join a team where he can have a role similar to his prior, floor-general role in Oklahoma City,” according to The Athletic.

A possible landing spot for the nine-time All-Star, who has three years and $132 million remaining on his deal, is in Charlotte with the Hornets and team owner Michael Jordan.

Despite that report, Kevin Smith of Yahoo threw some cold water on the notion that Charlotte, which has the No. 3 overall pick in next week’s draft. would want to take on Westbrook and his inflated salary.

“I’m told there is a bit of divide in Charlotte on Russell Westbrook. Some see him, with a few other additions, as enough to get the Hornets into playoff contention again the East,” he wrote on Twitter. “Others see the best path forward to keep a clean cap sheet after this season. I think what is playing out w/ CHA and Russell Westbrook is going to be a somewhat common NBA theme this season. Some want to push for playoffs in an uncertain financial environment. Hope is by postseason, maybe fans can be in arenas. Others prefer patience till things settle.”

No matter what happens, it looks as if Houston’s plan to embrace small ball by pairing Westbrook and Harden in the backcourt will be a one-year experiment that, ultimately, was a failure.