JUST IN: Odds of Russell Westbrook being traded to Detroit Pistons revealed

That changed Monday, as the Nuggets struck a deal to use a trade exception to add Jerami Grant from the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for a 2020 first-round pick. The rest came in trade of Paul George to the Los Angeles Clippers over the weekend. The Thunder also received forward Danilo Gallinari in the trade, but the veteran versatile scoring threat could be rerouted to another team.

Simmons and Mannix suggested that the Miami Heat, Orlando Magic or New York Knicks could be possble destinations for Westbrook who has played 11 seasons in Oklahoma City since being drafted fourth overall in the 2008 draft.

The interest in Westbrook fits Rockets general manager Daryl Morey's pattern of aggressively pursuing superstars. What ensued was a series of high-status trades, the biggest being Paul George going to the Clippers. After everyone counted the Miami Heat out, team president Pat Riley pulled off the impossible by negotiating a sign and trade with Philadelphia, while bringing Dallas in as a third team.

The seismic news also leaves questions over George's soon-to-be-former teammate Westbrook, amid speculation that a rift between the pair helped pave the way for George to quit the team.

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A source said that Paul would not necessarily need to be involved in a deal that delivers Westbrook to the Rockets, although his $38.5 million salary is a ideal match with Westbrook's.

Eric Gordon and Clint Capela could become casualties in such a deal.

Noel, 25, averaged 4.9 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 77 games (two starts) last season. He's due $171,139,920 over the next four years.

According to ESPN, Houston is interested in trading for Westbrook, though a source told the Worldwide Leader that it's a "long shot". Players on two-way contracts will mostly play in the National Basketball Association G League but can be called up to their respective National Basketball Association team for 45 days maximum.

  • Lawrence Cooper