The Oklahoma City Thunder have traded Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets. It’s a sentence I never wanted to write. Here we are. Russell Westbrook’s comes to an abrupt ending.
Oklahoma City will get Chris Paul and a handful of picks in return according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
The Oklahoma City Thunder have acquired eight first-round picks since draft night.
Russell Westbrook was the longest tenured player with the Thunder, lasting 11 seasons. During his career in Oklahoma City he won the 2016-17 MVP and averaged a triple-double for three consecutive seasons.
Westbrook finishes atop all the statistical categories are atop the Oklahoma City-Seattle record books. His charity events are atop the Oklahoma City charity groups. His on the court performances were matched by his ability within the community. Westbrook cared about those within the state of Oklahoma.
With everything Oklahoma City went through back in 2016. It was Westbrook who stayed. He could have asked to be moved then. He signed and committed to the city. He put his trust within the organization. They rolled out the red carpet. In return, he went bananas, winning the 2016-17 Most Valuable Player award over James Harden. He became the first player in half century to average a triple-double.
Then, Oklahoma City made money moves. They went into the high tax to bring in players like Paul George. Injuries and just mismanaged rosters with Carmelo Anthony, for example, led to three straight first round exits. The sky high expectations over the last two season have been met with little reward. Three straight first round exits, including a disappointing 4-1 series loss to the Blazers puts the duo in the cross hairs.
When Paul George asked for a trade to the Los Angeles Clippers, Westbrook and the Thunder met to see what would come up with the Thunder. It became obvious the Thunder were looking to rebuild. The Thunder wanted to do right by Westbrook. The man who shown loyalty in a league where loyalty is all but a word. They took down a list of teams and began taking offers for the triple-double machine.
Miami shown interest but were not parting with key players like Tyler Herro and others. So, Presti did what he does best. He moved on. He’s done it numerous times. He is not a man who will play the staring contest. Like the Harden situation, Presti moved under the cloak of darkness and moved Westbrook to a preferred destination: the Houston Rockets.
Oklahoma City gets Paul, a 34-year old future hall of famer. He’s due $124 million over the next three seasons. It’s not a done deal Paul stays in Oklahoma City. Miami and such will be in the mix but with his large contract, it’s going to be difficult to move it. It will not be impossible, just difficult.
No. 0 will always be No. 1 in our hearts. For all of his faults. Westbrook will not quit on you. He’s going to be the greatest gift to the Rockets. He’s loyal to a fault and in the end, he cares about two things: his family and winning. That’s it.
Oklahoma City is stacked in draft picks. Houston is stacked for a title run. My heart is full of memories of Westbrook.
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