The Phoenix Suns should refrain from trading for Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook Phoenix Suns (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images)
Russell Westbrook Phoenix Suns (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Russell Westbrook Phoenix Suns (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
Russell Westbrook Phoenix Suns (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Would the Suns be a guaranteed playoff team anyway?

Let’s face it: while the addition of Russell Westbrook to the Phoenix Suns would be both huge in terms of excitement and be the addition of star power the like of which have not been seen with this franchise since Charles Barkley 27 years ago, would they even make the playoffs?

For as great of an offensive player as Devin Booker is, and with the expectation that Deandre Ayton will play a much larger role in the offense this coming season, Russell Westbrook won the MPV award for his play three seasons ago and Paul George was an MVP candidate this year, and yet they “only” won 49 regular season games together and recorded one playoff victory this past post-season.

Yes, the Thunder are expected to drop out of the playoffs without George (and definitely would without Westbrook), and there is a chance  that the Golden State Warriors do now without Kevin Durant and potentially without Klay Thompson for a majority of the year as well.

However, the Los Angeles Lakers definitely will make the leap from out of the playoffs back in, and while Dallas and New Orleans missed out last season and are no guarantees this year, they are much improved themselves and were already in a better position at the end of 2018-19 than Phoenix was regardless  of the possible addition of Westbrook.

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Not only that, but last season the Clippers, as the 8-seed, won 48 games.

While it is unlikely that the 8-seed will need 48 wins again this coming season, let’s say they do.

That would be a 29-game turnaround for Phoenix.

Can Phoenix continue to improve  with limited cap flexibility after next season and use Westbrook to carry the team deeper into the playoffs over the life of his current and ballooning contract?

Oh, and by the way: Westbrook’s teams did not make it out of the first round in any of the three seasons since the departure of Kevin Durant, winning a total of four  playoff games (two of those years were with Paul George).

In the end, it is hard to say how much better the Phoenix Suns would be with Westbrook and a loss of potentially Kelly Oubre than with the roster intact including Rubio and the assumed re-upping of Oubre.

Do I honestly think that Westbrook does  make the Phoenix Suns a better team than Rubio this season?


Do I think that the Suns stand a better chance of making the playoffs with Westbrook than Rubio.


But are the differences that  stark that with the addition of Russell Westbrook to the core of Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton mean the Phoenix Suns will be significantly  better than with Rubio?

Honestly, no.

Next. Counterpoint: the Suns should make a run at Russell Westbrook. dark

While the Phoenix Suns need an additional star, they also need more help than one aging superstar point guard. As much as every fan (including myself) wishes that the acquisition of Russell Westbrook made perfect sense for the franchise, it just doesn’t, and a trade for him would likely hurt the franchise more in the long run, than help.