Thunder trading Russell Westbrook to Rockets for Chris Paul and draft picks

Austin Knoblauch and Broderick Turner, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Basketball

The Oklahoma City Thunder have agreed to trade former NBA MVP Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets in exchange for Chris Paul and two first-round draft picks, a person with knowledge of the situation told the Los Angeles Times.

The Thunder will receive the Rockets' first-round picks in 2024 and 2026 and the two teams will swap picks in 2021 and 2025. ESPN first reported the trade.

The deal reunites Westbrook and James Harden, who played three seasons together on the Thunder from 2009-12.

"We're excited to have Russell Westbrook," Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta said in a statement. "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."

The deal marks the third blockbuster trade since the start of NBA free agency. The Los Angeles Lakers acquired Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans and the Los Angeles Clippers landed Paul George in a deal that also helped them sign Kawhi Leonard.

Westbrook, 30, has averaged 23.0 points per game over his 11-year career in Oklahoma City following two years at UCLA. Westbrook, who was named the league's MVP at the end of the 2016-17 season, is an eight-time All-Star.


Paul, 34, played for the Rockets for the last two seasons, helping them finish first in the Western Conference in 2018. Houston fell to the Golden State Warriors in the conference finals. Paul, who played six seasons with the Clippers before being traded to the Rockets in June 2017, has averaged 18.5 points a game.

Houston lost in the conference semifinals last season, but the addition of Westbrook gives the Rockets one of the NBA's most potent scoring tandems. Harden is the league's two-time reigning scoring champion, averaging 36.1 points a game last season.

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