Russell Westbrook Traded to Rockets as a Wild N.B.A. Off-Season Continues

James Harden and Russell Westbrook shall be reunited after a surprising commerce despatched Westbrook, the 2017 winner of the N.B.A.’s Most Valuable Player Award, from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Houston Rockets in change for Chris Paul and draft picks.

In a commerce confirmed by a number of folks with data of the deal who weren’t approved to debate it publicly, the Rockets agreed to ship Paul and two first-round draft picks — each of which have protections in-built — to Oklahoma City together with the proper to swap first-round picks in two different years.

Harden and Westbrook performed collectively in a backcourt for the Thunder for 3 seasons, and together with Kevin Durant they led the crew to an N.B.A. finals look in 2012, dropping to the Miami Heat. Paul beforehand labored in Oklahoma City as a member of the Hornets when that crew was displaced from New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina.

Since Harden and Westbrook final performed collectively, each have flourished. Harden gained the M.V.P. Award in 2018 and has been a top-five finisher 4 different occasions. Westbrook has averaged a triple-double in every of the final three seasons.

In the deal, Oklahoma City, which misplaced within the first spherical of the playoffs for a 3rd consecutive yr, continued to stockpile draft picks, simply because it did in trades that despatched Paul George to the Los Angeles Clippers and Jerami Grant to the Denver Nuggets.

The Rockets, who underneath Coach Mike D’Antoni have had one of the crucial environment friendly offenses in N.B.A. historical past, will attempt to get to the following degree after being stymied within the Western Conference by the Golden State Warriors’ dynasty. Houston was eradicated from the playoffs by Stephen Curry and Co. in 4 of the final 5 seasons.

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