news 1 week ago

Russell Westbrook trade rumors: Thunder send star to Rockets for package including Chris Paul

Sporting News — (Thomas Lott)

The Rockets have acquired Russell Westbrook and moved Chris Paul.

Houston has picked up Westbrook in a trade with the Thunder, according to ESPN.

In the deal the Rockets gave up Paul, 34, and first-round picks in 2024 and 2026.

The teams also have the right to swap picks in 2021 and 2025.

The Thunder traded Westbrook, 30, to the Rockets at the behest of the 2016-17 MVP. He wanted to reunite with James Harden, who he played with in Oklahoma City from 2009-12, according to ESPN.

This trade was set in motion when the Thunder dealt Paul George to the Clippers on Saturday to join up with Kawhi Leonard. In that deal Oklahoma City acquired two good players in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Danilo Gallinari, but the big kicker in the agreement was the draft picks that came with it.

Oklahoma City got back three unprotected first-round picks from the Clippers (2022, 2024 and 2026), two more which initially belonged to Miami (2021 unprotected and 2023 protected 1 through 14) and the right to swap picks with the Clippers in 2023 and 2025.

That move all but signified a rebuild for the Thunder and generated buzz surrounding a possible Westbrook trade. He initially reportedly considered going to the Heat to join up with Jimmy Butler, but obviously he has been moved to Houston.

With these two moves now done, the Thunder have an assortment of first-round picks over the next few years which should help the team build up for a long time. The only issue could be that the Clippers and Rockets are expected to be good, so they could be late in the first round.

As for Houston, there was reportedly a rift between Paul and Harden in the locker room and the team was considering dealing Paul and his contract for a while. Paul has three years remaining on the four-year, $159 million deal he signed with Houston in 2018.

Westbrook also has four years remaining on his five-year, $206 million contract (one is a player option), so the money is a bit of a wash in this, but the Rockets get back a player who is four years younger.

He would not talk to the media Thursday after the reported trade.