Russell Westbrook and James Harden Are Together Again
It seems that James Harden and Russell Westbrook are hoping to join the dynamic duos of the NBA who won the NBA title together after each won an MVP. The Oklahoma City Thunder agreed to trade Russell Westbrook to Houston Rockets for Chris Paul. According to ESPN the trade includes round 1 picks in 2024 and 2026 and pick swaps in 2021 and 2025.
After a decade, Russell Westbrook and James Harden will play together again. There were several reports earlier this week claiming that Westbrook is really eager to play with his former teammate Harden. Sam Presti, the general manager of Oklahoma City Thunder reportedly worked with Russell Westbrook so the deal could materialize.
It seems that the OKC Thunder is also rebuilding its team this offseason after several years of playoff relevance. This can be seen when they let go Paul George for the Los Angeles Clippers. The team granted the request in exchange for multiple round 1 draft picks.
The deal with Paul George is an indication of the culmination of an era for Russell Westbrook in OKC Thunder. It simply does not make sense to keep an NBA MVP with a max deal dangling on his head on a roster of players when the franchise would like to start rebuilding the team from scratch. The recent move appears to give credence to rumors that there is bad blood between James Harden and Chris Paul.
Oklahoma City GM Sam Presti worked with Westbrook and his agent, Thad Foucher, to deliver the former MVP to his preferred destination: A reunion with James Harden, per sources. — Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 12, 2019
The Houston Rockets have suffered second straight playoff defeat against the Golden State Warriors in the most recent NBA season. Chris Paul is one of the best playmakers in NBA history, and most of the time, he found himself standing by on an offense that focused on the isolation plays for James Harden. The Harden-Paul duo could have won the Rockets a championship title that the team desperately wants.
Their failure to achieve it simply fueled Daryl Morey, Rockets' general manager to make a major strategic move for the franchise. The NBA Western conference is in a totally new dynamic. The Golden State Warriors lost Kevin Durant to Brooklyn Nets, and Klay Thompson is still suffering from his ACL injury.
The Houston Rockets might have seen the opportunity to make a strategic move to be competitive with the LA Lakers and LA Clippers as well as other contenders in the Western Conference who also aspire to take the title away from the Golden State Warriors who have held it for five consecutive NBA seasons.