It turns out the big NBA moves weren’t done after all.
The Oklahoma City Thunder have agreed to trade Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets for Chris Paul, first-round picks in 2024 and 2026, and pick swaps in 2021 and 2025, according to an ESPN report.
This is just another major step in the Thunder’s complete rebuild. In Oklahoma City’s three trades of Westbrook, Paul George and Jerami Grant (shipped to the Denver Nuggets), the team has accumulated seven additional first-round picks lined up through 2026 — plus four pick swaps, according to ESPN.
It hasn’t been a week since the Thunder traded George to the Clippers to form a super tandem with Kawhi Leonard in Los Angeles. Oklahoma City snagged a high number of draft picks, along with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Danilo Gallinari, in that deal.
According to the ESPN report, Westbrook wanted to reunite with James Harden, and Thunder general manager Sam Presti worked with Westbrook and his agent, Thad Foucher, to make that happen.
This comes on the heels of a Yahoo Sports report that recently stated the relationship between Harden and Paul was “unsalvageable.” They reportedly went nearly two months without speaking during the season, creating a toxic environment not only for their Rockets teammates, but for everyone involved in the franchise.