Sport: Opinion: Russell Westbrook-James Harden pairing probably won't work, but Rockets had no other choice but to try - PressFrom - US

SportOpinion: Russell Westbrook-James Harden pairing probably won't work, but Rockets had no other choice but to try

06:11  12 july  2019
06:11  12 july  2019 Source:

AP source: Russell Westbrook going to Rockets for Chris Paul

AP source: Russell Westbrook going to Rockets for Chris Paul LAS VEGAS (AP) A person with knowledge of the situation says the Oklahoma City Thunder have traded Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets for Chris Paul, a shake up of top point guards and a move that reunites Westbrook with James Harden. The Thunder also are getting first-round picks in 2024 and 2026, plus the right to swap first-rounders in two other seasons, according to the person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Thursday because the trade has not been announced. ESPN first reported the agreement.

Harden would have an MVP case based on his volume scoring and pronounced role alone. But that’ s really only half the story when it comes to his offensive And yet Harden ’ s Rockets remain way out in front. The Harden / Westbrook choice for voters on this topic is straightforward. Is it really wise to

James Edward Harden Jr. (born August 26, 1989) is an American professional basketball player for the Houston Rockets of the National Basketball Association (NBA).

It says something about the state of professional basketball when two All-NBA point guards get traded for each other and it only registers fourth among the balance-of-power shifting transactions that have taken place in the last month alone.

Mostly, it says that the NBA has changed from a league where you need three superstars to win a title to a league dominated by power couples. And it says that the Houston Rockets, who a few weeks ago seemed to be contractually handcuffed to a point guard in decline alongside James Harden, were desperate to find a way out.

Report: Rival execs see Rockets as ‘likely suitor’ for Russell Westbrook

Report: Rival execs see Rockets as ‘likely suitor’ for Russell Westbrook The Oklahoma City Thunder have no choice but to explore the possibility of trading Russell Westbrook now that Paul George has forced his way out of town, and any deal involving the All-Star point guard could once again shift the balance of power in the Western Conference. 

Russell Westbrook , James Harden , LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard: These are great NBA players The MVP debate has been a lot of fun — justifiably so! — and we’re not trying to pour water on the fire. Harden ’ s Rockets have 54 wins , to match Nash’ s second MVP season with the 54-28 Suns in

Russell Westbrook and James Harden , reunited?. The Rockets are interested in a trade for Westbrook , according to ESPN’ s Tim MacMahon, though a source reportedly described the prospect of adding the point guard as a “long shot.” You’d figure any Rockets trade for Westbrook would have to include Paul going the other way, though MacMahon Rockets tried to land Jimmy Butler earlier.

The Rockets sent a boatload of future draft assets to Oklahoma City on Thursday to swap the bad contract of Chris Paul for the less-bad contract of Russell Westbrook, throwing a different look at a Western Conference that seems to be wide open.

From a basketball standpoint, pairing a ball-dominant guard in Harden with a ball-dominant guard in Westbrook doesn’t make a lot of sense on the surface. From a chemistry standpoint, it would seem to hold the potential for disaster. And yet, what other choice did the Rockets have?

In a sense, this trade fits both the ethos of general manager Daryl Morey, who has relentlessly chased superstars with little regard for their personality fit, and an owner in Tilman Fertitta whose promises of major change for the Rockets after last season’s second-round playoff meltdown made a lot more sense when you remember that his first big foray into sports came as a blustery college football booster at the University of Houston.

Details of Chris Paul-James Harden playoff argument revealed

Details of Chris Paul-James Harden playoff argument revealed James Harden and Chris Paul clearly did not get along well during their time together with the Houston Rockets, and the issues may have come to a boil after they lost their playoff series to the Golden State Warriors this year. Numerous reports claimed the two superstars had an argument in the locker room after the Rockets were eliminated, but the bickering apparently started on the court. In a recent episode of his podcast, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst revealed some of what Harden and Paul said to one another during that Golden State series.

James Harden ' s and Russell Westbrook ' s dominant, yet differing styles further stirred the MVP debate in Thursday night' s thriller. But Westbrook instead put the game on his own shoulders, rising for a contested three over Harden as opposed to trying to penetrate or break down the defense.

Together, Harden and Westbrook are having two unprecedented seasons. The Beard has led the Rockets to a third-best 54-26 record, orchestrating Mike D’Antoni’ s offense as the maestro leading his gang of flanking shooters. Westbrook has shattered record after record while yanking his supporting

With Harden’s window still wide open at age 29, this was the time to go for it. This was the time to dump the 34-year old Paul off on someone else before 2021 and 2022 when he’ll make a combined $85.5 million as his physical decline accelerates. This was the time to use whatever assets the Rockets had to add a second superstar whose prime lined up more closely with Harden’s.

But ultimately, we still have this major question about Houston: Does swapping Paul for Westbrook solve the Rockets' fundamental problem?

Beyond the bet on pure talent, of which Westbrook has plenty, Houston is doubling down on the idea that two guards who primarily create shots for themselves will be better than one.

Given reasonable health, Houston is a lock to win 50 games, even in the rugged West where there won’t be many gimme putts. But it’s undeniable at this point that they have a playoff problem with Harden, whose shooting percentages have dipped from between 44% and 45% in each of the last four regular seasons to 41% in each of the last four postseasons.

The Rockets' Trade for Russell Westbrook Reeks of Desperation

The Rockets' Trade for Russell Westbrook Reeks of Desperation Once you get over the shock Russell Westbrook landing on the Rockets and reuniting him with James Harden, the deal seems a little desperate on Houston's end. There's a chance Chris Paul and Harden could no longer work together, but this fix feels more impulsive than opportunistic.

NEW ORLEANS — James Harden was staying out of it. “They’re two grown men,” Harden , the Houston Rockets ’ do-everything guard, said ahead of Sunday night’ s N.B.A. All-Star Game. “They have to figure it out themselves.”.

Harden had already proved he' s an unstoppable scoring machine, but no one Harden , who has seven 40-point triple-doubles this year, is playing so well that even Westbrook , a friend These days, the subjectivity of the award has a lot of people confused, including Rockets guard Patrick Beverley.

When so much of Houston’s offense relies on Harden to score one-on-one, make ridiculous stepback jumpers and draw fouls, it seems obvious he’s being forced to do too much.

The issue going forward, however, is whether Westbrook helps solve that problem or makes it worse. Because we’ve already seen one iteration of a team where Westbrook routinely took a sledgehammer to the hierarchy of who was supposed to do what when the stakes were highest, and it wasn’t particularly flattering to him in Oklahoma City.

If Westbrook didn’t defer enough to Kevin Durant in the big moments, why would we expect he’ll do it with Harden? If Westbrook wasn’t particularly efficient in playoff games for Oklahoma City — his career 3-point percentage in the postseason is 30.2% — why would we expect it will change now?

Though reports have indicated that Westbrook pushed to be traded to Houston and that he and Harden wanted to reunite, they are in much different places now than they were as younger players with the Thunder.

Both of them have won league MVP awards. Both of them have spent the last few years as the clear-cut alpha dog of their teams having to share very little of the credit or blame. Both of them have been empowered to take whatever shot they wanted.

Harden guarantees playing with Westbrook will 'be a lot of fun'

Harden guarantees playing with Westbrook will 'be a lot of fun' In an absolute shocker, the Houston Rockets acquired Russell Westbrook to pair with James Harden as they continue to covet an NBA title. Harden pushed for an opportunity to reunite with his former teammate following seven years apart after the Oklahoma City Thunder decided to move their stars for draft picks. It was a win-now move that has Harden excited about playing with Westbrook again. Your browser does not support this video require(["binding"], function (binding) { binding("wcVideoPlayer", "#video_player_33379741-1187-49aa-988e-7fef2e641217").

Morey has already suggested that the Rockets may be overhauling the roster this offseason, with big man Clint Capela and guard Eric Gordon reportedly on Houston would still face long odds in trying to land Russell Westbrook , the ESPN report noted. The Rockets would run into challenges in finding

The Rockets have the best record in the league, a historically great offense, and James Harden is their Clint Capela and Eric Gordon are having career years. The Rockets have had win streaks of 14 and Russell Westbrook is a soloist; maybe the most exciting soloist of all time. But the game is

Can Houston still be Harden’s team if he doesn’t have the ball in his hands for the majority of nearly every possession? Can Westbrook be as effective if he’s playing off the ball while knowing he won't get it back? Will two stars with tunnel vision to score be able to coexist peacefully when their desires overlap?

The answer is probably not. But for Houston, which clearly felt it wasn’t going anywhere with a diminished, banged-up Paul, there was no other choice but to try.

Follow Dan Wolken on Twitter @DanWolken.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Opinion: Russell Westbrook-James Harden pairing probably won't work, but Rockets had no other choice but to try

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Opinion: Russell Westbrook-James Harden pairing probably won't work, but Rockets had no other choice but to try

Smith: Time for Russell Westbrook to change his game.
I am choosing optimism at this moment in time. Hope over hate. I believe that Russell Westbrook can change at 30. I believe that James Harden can win a world championship while leading the Rockets in his prime. Am I going to regret all the above in six months? A year? Two? Maybe. I have applauded the Rockets many times since 2015. I have also often criticized them and highlighted their limitations. At this moment in time, sincere unification is the only way that Westbrook and Harden are going to work. Dwight Howard and The Beard split apart.

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