To the extent it involves two stars en route to the Hall of Fame and featured on perennial playoff teams, the trade with Russell Westbrook traveling to Houston and Chris Paul in Oklahoma City is, on paper, of a magnitude considerable.
Like in, wow, quite the blockbuster. The NBA is still doing it. This league remains on fire.
But after removing the nail polish that accompanies the brand names, it's fair to wonder if there are really a lot of consequences to such an agreement, first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski from ESPN. And it is reasonable to conclude that this is not the case.
This means that for the Warriors and other Western Conference candidates, the balance of power remains essentially the same as it was before the exchange.
Paul and Westbrook both seemed to have surpassed their peaks, even though vanity does not allow acceptance.
The Thunder wins in Paul a man whose major years have been his last four seasons with the New Orleans Hornets (2007-11) and the first four with the Los Angeles Clippers (2011-15). Highly demanding and often grumpy, the CP3 has been, for most of these seasons, the best pure guard in the NBA.
He also played in all 82 games in 2014-15, but since starting in 63, the total over the last four seasons has gone from 74 to 61, then 58 and 58. He can not be expected to overturn this trend.
It should also be noted that Paul was the "leader" of these talented Clippers teams led by Doc Rivers who had never passed the second round – the worst being the epic collapse of 2015 when they missed three games against one. lead on Houston in the semifinals of the Western Conference.
Paul's achievement at this stage of his career is, for OKC, primarily related to two other first-round picks (2024 and 2026) at a time when James Harden and Westbrook will be between 30 and 30 years old, if they are in Houston the list at all.
The Thunder won the market because they are getting those good choices when they give up Westbrook, which they owe about $ 170 million over the next four seasons, while Paul gets about $ 125 million for the next three seasons. Paul will be easier to move, if that were to happen, as will probably be the case.
OKC takes a step closer to a rebuild that was launched a few days ago with the huge capture recorded in Paul George's trading at the Clippers. The Thunder is a first in the three seasons since Kevin Durant's departure in 2016 and the playoffs are now out of sight.
The Rockets must now find, again, how to make the most of two dominant players. The Harden-Paul duo has not been a huge success and it's hard to imagine that the Harden-Westbrook duo will be much more successful.
There was a time when Harden and Westbrook formed a devastating combination: two basketball outlaws who, along with Kevin Durant, seemed capable of owning the NBA for the next five or six seasons. This core, along with the young Serge Ibaka, led the thunder at the NBA finals.
It was in 2012, when the three were under 24 years old and were simply not ready for the Miami Heat's ruthless experience and team with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Thunder lost out of five and did not return.
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The Rockets hope Harden-Westbrook will be better than Harden-Paul, and he should be. Westbrook can do more things, more effectively, than Paul. Russ can take charge of a game, accumulating statistics that Paul can imagine gathering.
But the needle that indicates Houston's chances of winning a championship has barely budged with this deal. The Rockets remain a playoff team, as they probably would have been with Paul, with a chance to win a place in the standings.
What we know for sure is that the Rockets will be more enjoyable to watch, for good and bad reasons, than the Thunder. And the front office at OKC will not bother him at all.