Oklahoma City Thunder reportedly ceded Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets in exchange for Chris Paul, as part of a super operation.
According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Houston would have traded two first-round picks and two choice exchanges in 2021 and 2025 in exchange for Westbrook.
Bobby Marks from ESPN also reports that the 15% kicker under the Westbrook contract be canceled.
The Miami Heat was also in the running for Westbrook, but both the Heat and Thunder have been deadlocked in recent days due to Miami's reluctance to include their young players in a commercial package.
The trade brings together Westbrook and James Harden, with whom he played during their early years with the Thunder from 2009 to 2012, until Harden traded to the Rockets before the start of the 2012-13 season.
Although relations between Westbook and Kevin Durant were considered tense during the year, this was not the case when Harden and Westbrook were teammates. The Rocket guard spoke of his penchant for his former teammate in an interview a few years ago.
Via Erik Horne of Oklahoman:
"Yes, of course," said Harden. "I think if we all had the opportunity to play with a guy like that, you'd love to play with him because he would cross a wall for you.
"Every night he goes out and he wants his team to win.He must literally do everything.I think we can all appreciate the passion that he has for the game and the love that He has, as I said, happy to watch, just because of his passion and aggression, that's what makes him what he is. "
Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta spoke about the blockbuster, thanking Paul for his two years in Houston.
The Rockets have almost reached their ultimate goal in the last two years: a championship. Despite stellar wins in the regular season, including a No. 1 seed in 2018, Houston was eliminated by an NBA finals in 2017-18 and was eliminated by the Golden State Warriors for the second consecutive year in the playoffs of the NBA in 2019. They will now try to compete for a title with the former duo MVP Harden and Westbrook.
As expected, this decision has had an impact on projections for the Thunder and Rockets as we get closer to the start of the 2019-2020 campaign, as revealed by Sportsline scientist Stephen Oh , after the announcement of the exchange.
The City of Oklahoma
Oh's model has not historically evaluated Westbrook's impact on basketball victory. The Rockets differential is not a big surprise. But his model also considers that Paul's privileged style and leadership on the field have a particular impact on a list of young Thunder players.
While Houston will be the biggest story in all of this, there is a major story regarding Paul and Oklahoma City. Before Oklahoma City had the Thunder, they played the role of host city for the New Orleans Hornets in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The Hornets spent the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons in Oklahoma City.
Paul commented on how much he enjoyed playing Oklahoma City when he came back as a member of the Los Angeles Clippers in 2014, via Jenni Carlson of The Oklahoman.
And do not worry, Thunder fans, the team is not in rebuild mode. Although they landed their two star players at Westbrook and Paul George, Sam Amick of L & # 39; athletics reports that the team plans to compete with a Paul team led by Paul.
Paul will finally finally come back – and possibly end his career in Oklahoma City.