According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Royce Young: “Oklahoma City GM Sam Presti worked with Westbrook and his agent, Thad Foucher, to deliver the former MVP to his preferred destination: A reunion with James Harden, per sources.”
After trading Paul George to the Clippers, Jerami Grant to the Nuggets and Russell Westbrook to the Rockets, the Thunder now have acquired eight first round picks: 2020: Nuggets (1-10), 2021: Heat; 2022: Clippers; 2023: Heat (1-14), 2024: Clippers; 2024: Rockets (1-4); 2026: Clippers; 2026: Rockets (1-4).
Once Paul George demanded a trade to the Clippers after Kawhi Leonard’s heavy recruiting effort, Russell Westbrook’s future with the Thunder was up in the air but the star point guard, his agent and his former team worked together to send the 2017 NBA MVP to a destination of his choice.
Russell Westbrook is under contract through 2022-23 and he has a player option in 2022. He will make $38.5 million next season. The 11-year veteran has averaged a triple-double in three straight seasons but he struggled with his shot in the playoffs, making just 36.0 percent of his field goal attempts and 32.4 percent of his 3-point shots while getting outplayed by Damian Lillard in five games of their first round series against the Trail Blazers.
Rockets general manager Daryl Morey made the entire roster and future draft picks available in trade talks in May and according to reports, Chris Paul had been trying to force his way out of Houston before that.
Per Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports, the relationship between Chris Paul and James Harden was called “unsalvageable” and they no longer wanted to play together.
The report also said that CP3 demanded a trade after losing Game 6 of the team’s second round series against the Warriors and that Harden gave the Rockets an ultimatum: him or me.
With Harden and Paul leading the way, the Rockets came the closest of anybody to taking down the Warriors in the Western Conference in the last two seasons but according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Harden and Paul had tense moments with one another throughout Game 6, culminating with a “verbal exchange in the locker room regarding ball distribution.”
Paul will enter the second year of a four-year, $159,730,592 contract. The 34-year-old will be 37 when he becomes a free agent in 2022.
Harden and Westbrook played together with the Thunder for three years and their Big Three with Kevin Durant reached the 2012 NBA Finals, eventually losing 4-1 to the Heat.
BetOnline had the Rockets at +1200 to be Russell Westbrook’s team For Game 1 of the 2019-20 NBA season. I hope many of you cashed that prop!