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Last Updated: July 16, 2019

The Oklahoma City Thunder Trade Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets for Chris Paul

Introduction

The Oklahoma City Thunder and the Houston Rockets agree to a blockbuster trade. The deal will relocate Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets and send Chris Paul to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Reports are indicating that Chris Paul will not end up playing for the Thunder as his agent and himself are working with Oklahoma City’s front office to find a trade partner to move him to another NBA organization.

Along with Chris Paul the Thunder will also receive other assets from the Rockets. Oklahoma City will also acquire two protected first round draft picks in the 2024 and 2026 NBA drafts. Draft numbers 1-4 on both picks will be protected. The Thunder will also get two pick swaps in 2021 as well as 2025.

What Sparked this Trade?

The catalyst for this trade agreement came after the Oklahoma City Thunder traded Paul George to the Los Angeles Clippers so that he could join forces with Kawhi Leonard in LA. Once that blockbuster trade occurred, Westbrook started demanding a trade knowing that he will no longer be able to compete in the very competitive Western Conference with the current team he had in Oklahoma City. Rumors began circulating that Westbrook would be traded to the Miami heat to team up with the Heat’s recently acquired All Star guard Jimmy Butler.

New Look Houston Rockets

This latest NBA trade makes a lot of sense for the Houston Rockets. Former NBA MVP, James Harden, swapped out an aging and often injured point guard in Chris Paul for a younger more explosive and more athletic one in Russell Westbrook. This should allow for the Rockets offense to be even better than it already was. The problem with Houston is that they don’t play great defense. Head coach Mike D’Antoni’s style of play revolves around a fast paced high powered offense that utilizes isolation, 3 point shooting, and drive and kick offensive philosophies.

The Future of the Oklahoma City Thunder…

…looks very bright but will take patients in order to build it out the right way. The Thunder may have 15 first round draft picks and pick swaps in four separate seasons from 2020 to 2026. This will give them the ability to get great young basketball prospects that will create an outstanding team several years down the road. They will have to use a similar system to how the Philadelphia 76ers build their powerhouse team. This system basically entails tanking and drafting well until all the right pieces are there to contend in the Western Conference.

Russell Westbrook's Career Regular Season Statistics

Season Tm G GS MP FG FG% 3P 3P% 2P 2P% FT FT% TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
2008-09 OKC 82 65 2668 436 0.398 35 0.271 401 0.415 349 0.815 399 435 110 16 274 191 1256
2009-10 OKC 82 82 2813 485 0.418 23 0.221 462 0.438 329 0.78 401 652 108 34 268 204 1322
2010-11 OKC 82 82 2847 614 0.442 34 0.33 580 0.451 531 0.842 379 670 155 30 316 207 1793
2011-12 OKC 66 66 2331 578 0.457 62 0.316 516 0.482 340 0.823 301 362 112 21 239 147 1558
2012-13 OKC 82 82 2861 673 0.438 97 0.323 576 0.466 460 0.8 428 607 145 24 273 189 1903
2013-14 OKC 46 46 1412 346 0.437 68 0.318 278 0.482 242 0.826 263 319 88 7 177 104 1002
2014-15 OKC 67 67 2302 627 0.426 86 0.299 541 0.457 546 0.835 488 574 140 14 293 184 1886
2015-16 OKC 80 80 2750 656 0.454 101 0.296 555 0.503 465 0.812 626 834 163 20 342 200 1878
2016-17 OKC 81 81 2802 824 0.425 200 0.343 624 0.459 710 0.845 864 840 132 31 438 190 2558
2017-18 OKC 80 80 2914 757 0.449 97 0.298 660 0.485 417 0.737 804 820 147 20 381 200 2028
2018-19 OKC 73 73 2630 630 0.428 119 0.29 511 0.481 296 0.656 807 784 142 33 325 245 1675

Chris Paul's Career Regular Season Statistics

Season Tm G GS MP FG FG% 3P 3P% 2P 2P% FT FT% TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
2005-06 NOK 78 78 2808 407 0.43 50 0.282 357 0.464 394 0.847 400 611 175 6 183 218 1258
2006-07 NOK 64 64 2353 381 0.437 50 0.35 331 0.455 292 0.818 280 569 118 3 161 154 1104
2007-08 NOH 80 80 3006 630 0.488 92 0.369 538 0.516 332 0.851 321 925 217 4 201 185 1684
2008-09 NOH 78 78 3002 631 0.503 64 0.364 567 0.525 455 0.868 432 861 216 10 231 212 1781
2009-10 NOH 45 45 1712 314 0.493 52 0.409 262 0.514 161 0.847 191 480 96 8 112 118 841
2010-11 NOH 80 80 2880 430 0.463 71 0.388 359 0.482 337 0.878 327 782 188 5 177 196 1268
2011-12 LAC 60 60 2181 425 0.478 79 0.371 346 0.511 260 0.861 213 543 152 4 124 138 1189
2012-13 LAC 70 70 2335 412 0.481 76 0.328 336 0.538 286 0.885 262 678 169 10 159 143 1186
2013-14 LAC 62 62 2171 406 0.467 78 0.368 328 0.498 295 0.855 268 663 154 4 145 157 1185
2014-15 LAC 82 82 2857 568 0.485 139 0.398 429 0.523 289 0.9 376 838 156 15 190 203 1564
2015-16 LAC 74 74 2420 515 0.462 122 0.371 393 0.501 294 0.896 310 738 152 13 194 185 1446
2016-17 LAC 61 61 1921 374 0.476 124 0.411 250 0.518 232 0.892 304 563 119 8 147 146 1104
2017-18 HOU 58 58 1847 367 0.46 144 0.38 223 0.532 203 0.919 313 457 96 14 128 141 1081
2018-19 HOU 58 58 1857 302 0.419 127 0.358 175 0.479 175 0.862 265 473 114 18 152 146 906

Media Statements

"We're excited to have Russell Westbrook," says Tilman Fertitta the owner of the Houston Rockets. "I would watch him play for Oklahoma City, and he's so athletic. At the same time, this franchise just had the two years with the most wins it's ever had in consecutive years, and we wouldn't have accomplished that without Chris Paul. Chris Paul is unbelievable, and he's gonna be sadly missed."

"I said at the end of the year, 'We're never gonna stand pat,'" explained Fertitta. "We're always gonna try to get better. I think this makes us a better team. I hate to lose Chris Paul, but we felt like we did what we had to do to become a better team.

"I think it'll be very interesting and fun. James and Russell wanted to play together. It ought to be fun this year."

Sources:

“OKC trades Russ to Rockets for Paul”, Young R. and Wojnarowski A., espn.com, July 12, 2019.

“Russell Westbrook”, basketball-reference.com, July 12, 2019.

“Chris Paul”, basketball-reference.com, July 12, 2019.


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