Just when you thought the NBA offseason was starting to get dull, the basketball Gods give us a blockbuster trade involving two star guards.
Per Woj and Shams, Russell Westbrook has been traded to Houston in exchange for Chris Paul and a bundle of draft picks.
Sources: Pick protections in Thunder/Rockets, Russell Westbrook/Chris Paul trade:
2024 first round pick, protected 1-4
2026 first round pick, protected 1-4
2025 swap, 1-20 protected
2021 swap, protected 1-4 — OKC can swap Clippers pick or Heat pick.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 12, 2019
After OKC traded Paul George to the Clippers, rumors began to swirl about the future of Westrbook. Many believed that the likely destination would be Miami but Houston was always in the hunt.
On Houston’s end, there had been rumors of a growing friction between Harden and Paul, although those reports were denied.
The trade gives OKC great flexibility towards building for the future, despite Paul’s hefty contract. Not only to the Thunder have the picks from Houston but they also have a bevy of picks from the Paul George trade.
Thunder are playing a long-game unseen in recent NBA history: Seven additional first-round picks lined up through 2026 — plus four pick swaps — via deals for Paul George and Chris Paul.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 12, 2019
What Happens with Paul?
As of now, the Thunder have no plans on moving or buying-out Paul’s hefty contract but it wouldn’t be surprising if they did in order to go into a full rebuild. Houston had a tough time finding a trade partner for Paul due to said contract, but luckily for them Westbrook has a similarly large deal. This trade helped continue the offseason theme of the restructuring of the NBA landscape.