Report: Thunder Trade Russell Westbrook to Rockets for Chris Paul
The Oklahoma City Thunder have traded All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets in exchange for Chris Paul, first-round picks in 2024 and 2026 and pick swaps in 2021 and 2025, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reports.
The Thunder were focused on doing right by Westbrook, who reportedly preferred Houston, ESPN's Ramona Shelburne added.
Westbrook's trade is the latest step toward Oklahoma City's efforts to rebuild after All-Star forward Paul George pushed the Thunder to trade him to the Clippers earlier this month, partnering him with Kawhi Leonard in Los Angeles. The Thunder will receive four unprotected first-round picks, one protected first-round pick and two pick swaps in addition to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Danilo Gallinari as a result of George's trade.
Following George's departure, Westbrook and general manager Sam Presti both reportedly understood that the time had likely come to explore the All-Star guard's trade possibilities after 11 years together. The Heat, Timberwolves, Rockets and Pistons all reportedly had interest in trading for Westbrook before the Thunder dealt him to Houston.
The Thunder also traded forward Jerami Grant to the Nuggets for a 2020 first-round draft pick on July 8.
Westbrook, an eight-time All-Star, is set to make $38.5 million next season. He is on the books for $41.3 million in 2020-21 and $44.2 million in 2021-22. He also has a player option for $47 million in 2022-23. Westbrook turns 31 in November.
Westbrook has had three consecutive seasons of averaging triple-doubles and was voted the league's MVP in 2016-17. He averaged 22.9 points, 11.1 rebounds and 10.7 assists for the Thunder in 2018-19.
Paul, who began his NBA career in Oklahoma City, averaged 15.6 points, 4.6 rebounds and 8.2 assists per game for the Rockets last season.