Westbrook to join Harden, Rockets

Westbrook

The Oklahoma City Thunder traded guard Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets for guard Chris Paul and a pair of first-round draft picks, multiple media outlets reported Thursday.

The Thunder will receive the Rockets’ first-round picks in 2024 and 2026 and the option to swap picks in 2021 and 2025, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Royce Young.

According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the first-round picks in 2024 and 2026 are top-4 protected. The 2021 swap is also protected 1-4, with the Thunder allowed to swap either of their first-rounders received from the Los Angeles Clippers or Miami Heat. The 2025 swap is protected from 1-20.

The move reunites Westbrook, 30, with former Thunder teammate and reigning NBA scoring champion James Harden. They played together for three seasons from 2009-12, making the playoffs all three years and reaching the NBA Finals in 2012.

Paul, 34, returns to Oklahoma City, where he played his first two NBA seasons (2005-07) when the New Orleans franchise was temporarily relocated after Hurricane Katrina.

An eight-time All-Star and two-time NBA scoring leader, Westbrook averaged a triple-double for the third straight season in 2018-19 with 22.9 points, 11.1 rebounds and a league-high 10.7 assists in 73 games.

A nine-time All-Star and four-time league assists leader, Paul averaged 15.6 points, 8.2 assists, 4.6 rebounds and 2.0 steals in 58 games last season.

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