With the acquisition of Russell Westbrook, the Houston Rockets set themselves back on the path towards Championship contention. With a few more tweaks, they might become the favorites.
Admittedly, the Rockets do not have very many options when it comes to making changes to their significantly high-priced roster. Still, provided they are willing to pay the price, there is one direction they can look: East.
In Cleveland, as they prepare the next phase of their long rebuild, Kevin Love is an asset better used as a trade chip than as an actual star for them. And, according to Andy Bailey of Bleacher Report, him going to Houston could be the perfect fit.
This would be an all-in gamble for the Houston Rockets, who would almost certainly need to see Love’s first few months of the 2019-20 season to be sure he’s healthy and productive.
If he is, Love could be a nearly ideal complement to Russell Westbrook and James Harden. He settled into the No. 3 role almost perfectly with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving in Cleveland, and his ability to shoot would draw bigs away from the paint and give those slashers more room inside.
But this isn’t a move without a cost. In fact, it’s fairly steep. Unless you’re moving Clint Capela, you need both Eric Gordon and PJ Tucker in the deal to make the salaries work, and Tucker was a critical component of Houston’s defense the last two years.
Cleveland would get pieces to help them rebuild, while the Rockets become almost instant favorites in the West.
Love, 30, is coming off the most recent season having averaged 17 points and 10.9 rebounds in just 22 games. If healthy, his shooting and rebounding could prove invaluable for the Rockets.
He signed a 4-year, $120M extension with the Cavaliers last summer.