The Oklahoma City Thunder are officially rebuilding, and that means the Russell Westbrook era in OKC is at an end. In a move that once again shifts landscape of the NBA this summer, the former NBA MVP is on the move after the Thunder officially started fielding offers on the guard who has averaged a triple-double for two straight seasons.
According to a report by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Westbrook is now headed to the Houston Rockets for Chris Paul and a bevy of draft picks.
Westbrook’s trade comes after the Thunder abruptly sent Paul George to the Los Angeles Clippers in a move that also netted the franchise Kawhi Leonard in free agency. George’s apparent discontent in OKC with Westbrook has sparked a rebuild for the Thunder, who met last week with Westbrook and his team and decided a trade would be best for both sides.
The haul for Westbrook will be significant, and continues to arm the Thunder with first-round picks over the next several years that they can use in a variety of ways, along with a veteran presence in Paul, although it is unclear if Oklahoma City wants to keep him around, buy him out, or move him for even more picks.
Shams Charania of The Athletic confirmed some of the specifics of the trade, namely with regards to pick protections.
As far as Westbrook, it gives the enigmatic shooter a chance to improve his consistency, as he had one of the worst shooting seasons of his career in 2018-19 despite the statistical wizardry that earned him an MVP trophy the previous year. Plus he will reunite with his friend James Harden, with whom he spent several years in Oklahoma City for the start of his career.