When Devin Booker screamed “this is my house!” after preventing Russell Westbrook from achieving a triple-double, the Phoenix Suns star left a lasting impression that will not be easily forgotten.
The idea that the Oklahoma City Thunder should consider (or try really hard) to trade Russell Westbrook is becoming one of great en vogue topics to debate among fans of the NBA. The thought that the only player in NBA history to average a triple-double for a season twice might be on the move is one that is creating a tremendous stir, with ideas and concepts about how to move him producing a fascinating discussion on what it would actually take to trade such an amazing basketball talent.
But while many players of great status in the NBA could probably be moved at anytime considering how many teams do not have and would love to add a superstar, Russell Westbrook is a special case all to himself: he may be very talented, but he is also arguably the most selfish player the league has ever known, more worried about fulfilling personal statistical records then actually guaranteeing victories for his team. He is also signed to a supermax contract that at the end (2022-23) will be paying him over $46M a year (in 2004-05 the salary cap itself was $43.87M).
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The contract alone might make moving Westbrook a near impossibility, but then add the fact that he is a pain to play with, a point guard who does not seem to elevate his teammates and the willingness to even attempt to trade for him is probably lower than the world-record holder for passing under a limbo pole (which for the record is 8.5 inches).
This all brings up the question of whether or not the Suns should pursue Westbrook and if so, what they could give up?
On a national NBA podcast the rumor of potentially trading Westbrook to the Phoenix Suns in exchange for Devin Booker was broached – not reported (and actually immediately shot down), just discussed as something that could be a possibility.
Absolutely and under no circumstances should the Suns offer up Devin Booker for Russell Westbrook, and honestly, as much fun as he is to watch as an NBA fan, I just do not see him making the Suns all that much better, especially if the roster then didn’t include Devin Booker.
Not to mention, Westbrook was technically on a “superteam” this past season that included himself, Carmelo Anthony, Paul George, and Steven Adams, and yet they could not get out of the first round, losing in six games to the Utah Jazz.
Would Westbrook, Josh Jackson, and whomever Phoenix selects with their first round pick be any better than that group? Not only no, but with Westbrook’s contract, the Suns really would not have a lot of cap space (if any) moving forward to then go out and add another star to that group, or even enough veteran talent to put together a competitive enough team to at least justify trading Booker who is seven years Westbrook’s junior.
Adding Westbrook, even in a one-for-one deal, would place the Suns in a situation of simply keeping their head’s above water, treading water, winning more than they lose, but never good enough to compete for an NBA title. Then to top it off, they would have lost their own developing superstar who at the time of the trade would be making significantly less and even at the point of his own first max contract extension he would be earning about half of what Westbrook, still allowing the Suns to build around him and add additional talent.
When Devin Booker shouted that Talking Stick Resort Arena was “his house,” he was not only asserting himself as the dominant player in Phoenix, but he formed a rivalry that will interest and excite Suns fans for many years. The Phoenix Suns should offer no interest in trading Booker for Westbrook and instead rely on their own current budding superstar to carry them to the promised land rather, than trading him away.