3 paths for the Denver Nuggets to acquire Russell Westbrook this summer

The former NBA MVP is on the trade block as the Clippers work with him to find a new home. The Nuggets appear to be at the top of the list, but finding a deal that works for all parties involved may prove to be difficult.
Los Angeles Clippers v Dallas Mavericks - Game Three
Los Angeles Clippers v Dallas Mavericks - Game Three / Sam Hodde/GettyImages
1 of 4

There’s always been a bit of controversy swarming around Russell Westbrook and the way he plays basketball. Even in his heyday, he was one of the most polarizing players in the league for his maniacal play-style that bordered on frenetic and out of control. He was an incredible player, as evidenced by his MVP Award in the 2016-17 season, but even then, there were doubts about his style translating to winning.

Years later and that’s still the book on Westbrook. He’s now 35 years old and a shell of what he once was, but he’s still a crazy athlete and competitor. He can get up and down the court with the best of them and pressures the rim like a madman. 

He is a flawed player through and through; he’s a poor shooter, sometimes a careless defender, and he makes a lot of questionable decisions on both ends of the floor. But there’s no denying he can play and even at his age, he can bring a lot to a team.

The Nuggets, frankly, don’t have many options at this point. The team that saw Bruce Brown and Jeff Green walk last season has already seen the departures of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Reggie Jackson this offseason. The only replacements brought in have been via the draft and the roster - especially the bench - is currently littered with unproven players with little or no NBA experience.

That would be fine for an up-and-coming, rebuilding team, but that’s not the Nuggets. The 2023 champs have a lot invested in their core which features the best player in the world, Nikola Jokic in the heart of his prime. The time to strike is now and yet, the team just seems to be getting worse. At a certain point, they need to make a move for a proven player who can bolster the rotation and earn the trust of Michael Malone.

All signs indicate that Russell Westbrook may be one of those players. There has been rumored mutual interest between the two sides and recently even talk of Jokic and DeAndre Jordan pushing for the team to add Westbrook. 

He’s far from a perfect match, but he would be a massive boost to the bench. If he clicks with Jokic and company, this could be a home run addition for Calvin Booth and the Nuggets in the 11th hour.

Somewhat complicating matters is the fact that Westbrook recently picked up his $4 million player option with the Clippers. But the Clippers don’t intend to keep Westbrook and are reportedly working with him on a trade. So right now, the Nuggets can’t simply go out and sign Russ off the street as he’s under contract; they are going to have to jump through some hoops. So here are three ways the team can get creative and bring in the former MVP to be the Nuggets 6th man next season.