LAS VEGAS — A person with knowledge of the situation says the Oklahoma City Thunder have traded Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets for Chris Paul, a shake up of top point guards and a move that reunites Westbrook with James Harden.
The Thunder also are getting first-round picks in 2024 and 2026, plus the right to swap first-rounders in two other seasons, according to the person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Thursday because the trade has not been announced. ESPN first reported the agreement.
It is part of a massive shake up by Oklahoma City, which traded Paul George to the Los Angeles Clippers and now sends Westbrook — its franchise player — to another West rival while adding to an enormous stockpiling of draft picks. The Thunder got five first-rounders in the trade with the Clippers for George.
Westbrook and Harden were Thunder teammates, part of a team along with Kevin Durant that went to the 2012 NBA Finals and lost to LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat. WARRIORS: After deciding to leave the Warriors for the Nets in free agency last week, Kevin Durant was apparently in no mood to deliver a parting gift to his former team.
He reportedly wouldn’t agree to the sign-and-trade deal that sent D’Angelo Russell to Golden State unless the Warriors also gave up a first-round pick.
Durant didn’t believe the Warriors were sacrificing enough in a straight up deal for Russell, so multiple sources told ESPN’s Brian Windhorst that Durant insisted his new team also receive a draft choice.
To be fair to Durant, there was no incentive for him to agree to a sign-and-trade since the Nets had ample cap room to sign both him and Kyrie Irving. Any trade with the Warriors would only benefit Golden State and Russell, who was able to receive a max contract that may not have been available via his two biggest free-agent suitors, the Lakers and Timberwolves.
Durant, who took nearly $10 million less in his second contract with the Warriors two years ago to help them keep both Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston, was under no obligation to do Golden State any more favors.