The utterly ridiculous 2019 NBA offseason is continuing right along, as the Houston Rockets have agreed to trade Chris Paul to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Russell Westbrook, a pair of first-round draft picks, and two pick swaps.
The news was first reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
The Oklahoma City Thunder have agreed to trade Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets for Chris Paul, first-round picks in 2024 and 2026, pick swaps in 2021 and 2025, league sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 12, 2019
It’s a wild, but understandable move for both teams.
Once Paul George requested a trade from the Thunder to the Los Angeles Clippers, the Thunder didn’t have much of a choice but to reboot. They weren’t winning with a core of just Russell Westbrook and Steven Adams.
By trading for Paul, the team got a smaller and shorter contract than Westbrook’s, and increased their draft haul. Counting the George trade, and the Thunder have now acquired a whopping seven first round picks this offseason, plus two pick swaps, and one of last year’s top rookies in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Their rebuild now has some serious legs.
As for the Rockets, they get the chance to try a new superstar backcourt, after Paul and James Harden came up short, losing to the Golden State Warriors in consecutive years.
There were reports that Harden and Paul did not get along, and wished to be separated this offseason. That happened, and the Rockets will reunite former teammates in Westbrook and Harden.