According to Espn’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Royce Young, the Oklahoma City Thunder have agreed to send Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets in exchange for Chris Paul. Westbrook will reunite with his former teammate James Harden per league sources.
Per Woj and Young, the Rockets will send Paul, along with two protected first-round picks (2024 and 2026). They will also send two pick swaps (2021 and 2025) to the Thunder.
With the trade, Rockets reunite former league MVPs Russell Westbrook both were teammates in Oklahoma City at start of their careers. During their time as Thunder teammates, they helped lead OKC to the Finals in 2012 but would fall short to the Miami Heat in five games.
According to leagues, Thunder general manager Sam Presti worked closely with both Westbrook and his agent, Thad Foucher, to make sure he was sent to Houston.
“We’re excited to have Russell Westbrook,” Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta told 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, and he’s gonna be sadly missed.”
This is not the first time the Rockets and Thunder have agreed on a blockbuster trade. After failing to agree on a contract extension with James Harden, the Thunder traded Harden to the Rockets on October 27, 2012, along with Daequan Cook, Cole Aldrich, and Lazar Hayward, in exchange for Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb, two first-round picks, and a second-round pick. Those two first-round picks turned into Steven Adams and Mitch McGary. The second-round pick turned into Álex Abrines.
As for Paul, he is still owed 124 million on the remainder his contract with Oklahoma City and will not be able to use the stretch provision to buy him out, according to Andrew John of The Desert Sun.
Chris Paul is owed $124 million on the remainder of his contract and OKC will not be able to use the stretch provision to buy him out. Will be interesting to see if the Thunder can move him.
— Andrew John (@Andrew_L_John) July 12, 2019