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SportRussell Westbrook trade grades: Rockets take huge gamble; Thunder lay foundation for rebuild

15:05  12 july  2019
15:05  12 july  2019 Source:   sportingnews.com

NBA rumors: Thunder tried to trade Russell Westbrook to Raptors, 'likely' to still deal him

NBA rumors: Thunder tried to trade Russell Westbrook to Raptors, 'likely' to still deal him The Thunder reportedly failed on a trade that would have sent Russell Westbrook and Paul George to the Raptors, creating a super team with Kawhi Leonard.

What does the Russell Westbrook trade mean for the Rockets and Thunder moving forward? Here is a breakdown of the short- and long-term ramifications for Less than a week after the Thunder traded Paul George to the Clippers, Oklahoma City sent Westbrook to the Rockets in exchange for Chris

Westbrook was traded to the Houston Rockets in exchange for veteran point guard Chris Paul and a pair of first round picks. Harden has certainly developed into one of the NBA's premier ball-handlers, but he may have to take a back seat with Westbrook now joining him in the Houston backcourt.

Russell Westbrook trade grades: Rockets take huge gamble; Thunder lay foundation for rebuild © Provided by Perform Media Channels Limited

Russell Westbrook is a Rocket man, but this deal didn't take a long, long time.

Less than a week after the Thunder traded Paul George to the Clippers, Oklahoma City sent Westbrook to the Rockets in exchange for Chris Paul plus multiple first-round picks and swaps, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. Houston was reportedly searching for a third team as a Paul landing spot, but for now, he will be a member of the Thunder.

What does this trade mean for the Rockets and Thunder moving forward?

Here are the reported details of the deal and a breakdown of the short- and long-term ramifications for each side.

Russell Westbrook trade rumors: Rockets in pursuit despite deal being a 'long shot'

Russell Westbrook trade rumors: Rockets in pursuit despite deal being a 'long shot' Houston has been ambitious in its pursuit of top talent and might be able to acquire Westbrook without moving Chris Paul.

Russell westbrook rockets rebuild ! Grading the Russell Westbrook & James Harden Rockets Duo - Продолжительность: 11:17 CaineLovesCali 350 151 просмотр. Thunder trade Westbrook to Rockets for Chris Paul - Продолжительность: 12:49 ESPN First Take 132 310

What does the Russell Westbrook trade mean for the Rockets and Thunder moving forward? Here is a breakdown of the short- and NBA players react to Rockets trading for Russell Westbrook , sending Chris Paul to Thunder . Russell Westbrook will be reuniting with James Harden in Houston.

TRADE RUMORS: Will Chris Paul's stay in OKC be short?

Russell Westbrook trade grades

Rockets receive: Russell Westbrook

Thunder receive: Chris Paul, future first-round picks (2024 and 2026), future pick swaps (2021 and 2025)

MORE: What happened last time Westbrook, Harden played together?

Rockets: C

The Rockets could have easily run it back for another year with James Harden and Paul leading the way, but general manager Daryl Morey opted to go all-in with Westbrook, Harden's former Thunder teammate. Morey is the type of GM who likes to acquire as much talent as possible, then figure out the specifics later. This lines up perfectly with that strategy.

Russell Westbrook trade rumors: Rockets pursuing three-team deal for Thunder guard

Russell Westbrook trade rumors: Rockets pursuing three-team deal for Thunder guard The Heat seem to be the favorite to land Russell Westbrook with the Thunder guard now on the trade block, but the Rockets aren't giving up just yet. Houston is looking to execute a three-team deal in order to acquire the eight-time All-Star, according to ESPN's Brian Windhorst. NBA TRADE RUMORS: These five teams could pursue Russell Westbrook "I will say this — the Houston Rockets are trying to get in on this," Windhorst said on "SportsCenter" when asked by Cari Champion about a Westbrook trade. "They're trying to get in and possibly do a three-team trade where they could get their hands on Russell Westbrook.

Russell Westbrook - Career stats, game logs, biographical info, awards, and achievements for the NBA and NCAA. (The Brodie, Russ , Beastbrook). Position: Point Guard ▪ Shoots: Right. 6-3, 200lb (190cm, 90kg). Team: Houston Rockets .

The Oklahoma City Thunder have agreed to trade Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets for Chris Paul, first-round picks in The Miami Heat had also been in contention for Westbrook 's services, but both the Heat and Thunder reached a stalemate in recent days due to Miami's reluctance to

Westbrook earned a spot on the All-NBA Third Team for 2018-19 after averaging a triple-double for the third consecutive season (22.9 points, 11.1 rebounds and 10.7 assists). He remains one of the most ferocious, athletic drivers in the league, creating opportunities to score for himself and others. He shot a career-high 65 percent at the rim this past season and finished third in the NBA in drives behind Harden and DeMar DeRozan.

An elite rebounder at the guard position, Westbrook can go coast-to-coast and constantly put pressure on his opponents. He is a willing passer, and he should rack up plenty of assists with Harden, Eric Gordon and PJ Tucker on the perimeter and Clint Capela diving to the basket. Overall, despite his obvious flaws, Westbrook is clearly an impact player.

But it's the nature of his flaws that makes this such a risky bet. His shooting has plummeted, even by his own standards. That's a problem for a 3-point happy team like the Rockets.

Russell Westbrook trade rumors: Thunder send star to Rockets for package including Chris Paul

Russell Westbrook trade rumors: Thunder send star to Rockets for package including Chris Paul The Rockets did trade Chris Paul and the Thunder did trade Russell Westbrook.

In a blockbuster trade that will send Russell Westbrook to Houston and Chris Paul to OKC, the The Rockets aren’t re -pairing two rising young talents who began their careers together—they’ re Westbrook has never been one to take a back seat. This isn’t going to be as simple as staggering

NBA Trade Grades . Rockets acquire Russell Westbrook from Thunder for Chris Paul, 2024 and It'll be a long rebuilding project, and the Thunder will be horrible in the near future - especially given As for the Thunder , they're clearly in re - building mode in the wake of the Paul George trade , so they

While Westbrook is terrible on above-the-break 3-pointers (27.9 percent) in 2018-19, he actually was respectable from the corners (37.2 percent). He only took 51 total shots from the corners, though, and 359 above the break. That number needs to dip way down. Those crazy pull-ups with 20 seconds on the shot clock? Please stop.

There's also the issue of whether Westbrook can cede the floor to Harden, and vice versa. They are both at their best with the ball. We're talking about two guards with the highest single-season usage percentages in NBA history.

Harden will have to be a spot-up threat when Westbrook is initiating the offense. Harden only attempted 70 catch-and-shoot 3-pointers last season, but he did hit on 41.1 percent of them. (Westbrook was just under 32 percent on 166 such attempts.) At some point, these guys must throw in off-ball movement and cutting. They can't treat every trip down to the wing or corner as a personal timeout.

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If anyone can steer Westbrook toward his offensive strengths, it's Mike D'Antoni. The bigger question might be how Houston stops anyone. Paul topped all other point guards in ESPN's Real Defensive Plus-Minus, and the Rockets' defensive rating dropped nearly eight points per 100 possessions with Paul on the floor vs. off. Compare that to Westbrook, who finished 32nd in that same metric and saw the Thunder's defense improve with him on the bench. It's hard to envision Harden or Westbrook as anything more than solid defenders, so Tucker and Capela will have work to do.

Maybe Westbrook can truly change. He allowed George to spread his wings in OKC when he emerged as a legitimate MVP candidate, and Westbrook wasn't a total sieve defensively. But he didn't break his bad habits, and the Thunder flamed out in the first round again. Can a man who has been so particular about his approach, style, parking spot and pregame sandwiches for a decade learn to be less rigid?

Should this grand experiment fail, Morey will shoulder the blame. The Rockets would be stuck with Westbrook's huge contract, which lasts a year beyond Paul's and presents Westbrook with a whopping $47.1 million player option for 2022-23. If they start heading downhill early, those picks and swaps will loom large. (It's crazy to think Houston had to tag those sweeteners onto Paul after signing him to a four-year deal just last summer.)

NBA championship odds 2020: Odds for Thunder, Rockets adjusted after Russell Westbrook-Chris Paul blockbuster

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This trade isn't an abomination. View it from Morey's perspective, and it's easier to understand why he did it. Westbrook is slightly underrated now because he is such an easy target.

But if this wasn't a case of the Harden and Paul relationship being truly unsalvageable — ESPN's Tim MacMahon says that didn't factor into Houston's decision — then it feels a bit too much like throwing something against a wall and hoping it sticks.

The previous Rockets core may have reached the NBA Finals with the Warriors out of the way. We'll never know.

MORE: Rockets, Thunder see championship odds shift after trade

Thunder: A-

Westbrook leaves the Thunder with the most points, second-most assists and third-most rebounds in franchise history. The Thunder fans will certainly give him a standing ovation when he returns, and he can expect a statue outside of Chesapeake Energy Arena down the road. It's a shame he couldn't follow the Dirk Nowitzki path and wear the same uniform his entire career.

Sentiment aside, this was absolutely the right call by Oklahoma City general manager Sam Presti. Concerns about Westbrook's fit with a new team and his contract dinged his value, but Presti navigated through a trade negotiation without attaching an asset to Westbrook.

The Thunder now hold 15 first-round picks15 — over the next seven drafts when adding up their own plus the selections acquired via the George, Westbrook and Jerami Grant trades. Presti is going to be Mr. Steal Yo Pick for the next half-decade.

It's possible the Clippers and Thunder picks never drop low enough to become prized prospects, but who knows where those teams will fall in the standings each season, or when the next steal of the draft will arrive? OKC can hope for a friendly bounce at future lottery drawings or use those first-rounders in other deals. Presti produced flexibility, and that's exactly what any rebuilding team needs.

MORE: What trading Russell Westbrook means for Thunder's rebuild

As for Paul, he isn't the prime "Point God" seen during his Hornets and Clippers days. He is overpaid, but that doesn't mean he can't contribute to a winning team.

He averaged 15.6 points, 8.4 assists, 5.2 rebounds and 1.8 steals after the All-Star break last season. He scored 27 points (11-of-19 from the field), grabbed 11 rebounds and dished out six assists in the Rockets' Game 6 loss to the Warriors, which eliminated Houston from the 2019 playoffs. There are some minutes left in those legs.

Paul could just be making a pit stop before another trade is executed. The Heat are a possibility for Paul, according to Wojnarowski, and Paul's agent, Leon Rose, represents Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem. The connections are there.

Oklahoma City wants to avoid the luxury tax, so another move is coming, whether it involves Paul or another Thunder player. Fortunately for Presti, he has the picks to pull of any deal, big or small, should he consider it worthwhile.

Trading away two All-Stars in favor of a rebuild isn't fun, especially when one of those players is an Oklahoma City icon. If it's unavoidable, though, a return package of Paul, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari, seven first-rounders and four pick swaps should ease the pain.

Russell Westbrook pens heartfelt goodbye to OKC after trade to Rockets.
"I can’t even begin to put into words all of the emotions I have right now," Westbrook wrote. "It’s been one heck of a journey Oklahoma!"

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