Russell Westbrook is on his way to the Houston Rockets and news of the trade involving Chris Paul sent shockwaves through the NBA world. In the aftermath of the deal, word has surfaced that Westbrook’s preferred destination was Houston and, in a statement, Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta expressed his excitement in landing a player he describes as “so athletic.”
“We’re so excited to have Russell Westbrook,” Fertitta told Marc Berman of Fox 26 in Houston. “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 & he’s gonna be sadly missed.”
For the most part, this is a statement you’d expect to see from an owner receiving a high-end player like Westbrook, all the way down to his recognition of the work put in by Paul in recent years. It is a bit jarring to see the “so athletic” distinction as a bit of basketball analysis from ownership, however, and it will be interesting to see how Fertitta, who is becoming known for his luxury tax aversion, feels when Westbrook is line for a $47 million payday for the 2022-23 season.
Westbrook and James Harden will immediately form an incredibly intriguing tandem and Paul’s next moves in Oklahoma City will also be of great interest. In the meantime, Fertitta is seemingly thrilled with his team’s newest acquisition and that can only help with the job security of the man who pulled off the move in Daryl Morey.