By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
The Oklahoma City Thunder have traded point guard Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets. In exchange for the talented point guard, the Rockets are shipping Chris Paul to the Thunder.
Plus, Oklahoma City is also receiving first-round draft picks in 2024 and 2026. In addition, the team also received pick swaps in 2021 and 2025.
With this deal, Westbrook’s decade long tenure ends with the Oklahoma City franchise. Thunder GM Sam Presti worked with Westbrook and his agent Thad Foucher to send him to Houston, which was his preferred destination, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
In this deal, Westbrook gets reunited with his former teammate James Harden. The former MVP was traded to the Rockets from the Thunder in 2012.
This deal also separates Harden from Paul, who reportedly had some issues during the 2018-19 season. One report suggested that the relationship between the two players were ‘unsalvagable,” according to Yahoo Sports.
Paul had a tricky contract, like Westbrook did, so it was one bad contract for another.The 34-year-old is is slated to make $38.5 million this season, before receiving $41.3 during the 2020-21 season.
He also has a $44.2 million player option during the 2021-22 season.
Westbrook, on the other hand, is slated to make $38.5 million during the 2019-20 season. He is slated to make $41.3 and $44.2 during the next two seasons.
He has a player option for the 2022-23 season that is worth $47 million.
The 30-year-old Long Beach, California native spent 11 seasons with the Thunder. This past season, he apepared in 73 games, including 73 starts.
Westbrook averaged 22.9 points, 11.1 rebounds, 10.7 assists, 1.9 steals, and 0.5 blocks in 36 minutes per contest.
The Winston-Salem, North Carolina native will be joining his fourth NBA team. Besides playing for the Rockets, he also played for the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets his first two seasons before the team officially became the New Orleans Hornets in 2007-08.
He also spent six seasons with the Los Angeles Clippers.
This past season, Paul appeared in 58 games, including 58 starts. He averaged 15.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, 8.2 assists, 2.0 steals, and 0.3 block in 32 minutes per contest.
The Thunder may buy out Paul’s contract, as their rebuilding begins. The team now has eight first-round future picks. They have a 2020 first-round pick from the Denver Nuggets (1-10 protected), and a 2021 pick from the Miami Heat. The team also has a 2022 first-round draft pick from the Clippers.
In addition, they have a 2023 first-round pick from the Heat, which is 1-14 protected. The Thunder has a 2024 first-round pick from the Clippers. Plus, they have a 2024 pick from the Rockets that is 1-14 protected.
They also have a 2026 first-round pick from the Clippers. And a 2026 Rockets pick that is 1-4 protected.