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Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
It’s not a dream. Russ is in H-town!
— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) July 17, 2019
There were some hopes out there that the Rockets were trying to also include another team in their deal with Oklahoma City Thunder and potentially pick up an additional wing player somewhere along the way, but that obviously has not happened. The trade was consummated as initially reported.
Here is the team’s official press release introducing Russ to Red Nation:
Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey today announced that the team has acquired guard Russell Westbrook from the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for guard Chris Paul, two protected first round picks, and other draft considerations.
Westbrook (6-3, 200) was originally the fourth overall pick by Oklahoma City in the 2008 NBA Draft. In 821 career games with 804 starts, he has averaged 23.0 points, 8.4 assists, 7.0 rebounds, and 1.76 steals.
In addition to being named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player in 2016-17, Westbrook is an eight-time All-Star, two-time All-Star Game MVP, eight-time All-NBA selection (First Team twice, Second Team five times, Third Team once), and he won an Olympic gold medal with Team USA in 2012. He has led the league in assists in each of the past two seasons and is a two-time scoring champion.
Over the past five seasons, Westbrook joins James Harden and LeBron James as the only players to have averaged at least 25.0 points, 8.0 assists, and 6.0 rebounds. Harden and Westbrook were teammates with the Thunder during Harden’s first three seasons from 2009-10 through 2011-12. They last played together during the 2012 NBA Finals.
Harden and Westbrook have both finished in the top-10 for MVP voting in each of the past five seasons, with both placing in the top-five in the same season three times over that span.
I’m personally starting to feel a little better about the trade than when it was first announced, though I’m still grappling a bit with having to root for a a guy whose game I neither enjoyed nor respected previously. As with most, I do think there’s a chance this could work, but there’s also a pretty good chance it goes up in flames. It’s going to be real weird the first time I cheer for Russ, that’s for sure.
As with anything in sports, however, winning cures all. Help bring us a title, and I’ll be all aboard the Russ train.