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SportThunder Preparing for Fresh Start After Dealing Russell Westbrook to Rockets

19:40  12 july  2019
19:40  12 july  2019 Source:   si.com

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.

Thunder Preparing for Fresh Start After Dealing Russell Westbrook to Rockets . Oklahoma City dealt two franchise cornerstones, and it’s hard to see how they could have got back more in return. They officially tumble from the ranks of the contenders but are armed to the teeth with what you need

Oklahoma City Thunder 's Russell Westbrook poses for a photo during the 2009-2010 Thunder Media Day in Oklahoma City, Okla. on Monday, September That the pair couldn’t lead the Rockets to the NBA Finals appearance and championship that the franchise so desperately craves proved enough

Thunder Preparing for Fresh Start After Dealing Russell Westbrook to Rockets© Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images

LAS VEGAS – Raise a glass, all, to the decade-long run of the Oklahoma City Thunder, a rise that began with a feisty first-round playoff loss to the Lakers, in 2010, and ends with a demoralizing defeat by Portland, in 2019, with a whole bunch of stuff in between. From James Harden to Serge Ibaka, Kevin Durant to, now, Russell Westbrook, the exodus from Oklahoma City is now complete, the era officially over.

On Thursday, Oklahoma City completed one of the speediest—if not stunning—tear downs in NBA history. Less than a week after agreeing to ship Paul George to Los Angeles for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari and a record haul of draft picks—and days after quietly moving Jerami Grant to Denver for another first-round pick—the Thunder ended Russell Westbrook’s 11-year run in Oklahoma, trading the 2016-17 MVP to Houston for Chris Paul, two protected first-round draft picks and two pick swaps, an NBA source confirmed to SI.com.

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. 

Thunder trade Russell Westbrook to Rockets for Chris Paul in blockbuster. Oklahoma City Thunder general manager Sam Presti continues to reshape the team's future, sending Westbrook to the Rockets for Chris Paul and two first-round draft picks, a person familiar with the deal told USA

Russell Westbrook and James Harden are together again Westbrook and Harden were Thunder teammates for three seasons, the last of those being the The Thunder are getting two more in this trade, and got a 2020 first-round pick in the deal completed earlier this week that sent Jerami Grant to

The Thunder are officially out of championship contention.

And Oklahoma City is better for it.

Did anyone who watched the Thunder play the last two seasons think that team was winning anything? There were plenty of excuses for the first-round flameouts. Carmelo Anthony was scapegoated a year ago; George’s bum shoulder was blamed for an embarrassing performance against Portland. Thunder officials will remind you that the team never recovered from the loss of Andre Roberson, injured midway through the ’17-18 season and who didn’t step on the floor in the most recent one.

OK, sure. But this team needed more, and with the Thunder deep into the luxury tax, help wasn’t coming. Sure, Oklahoma City was gearing up to make a run, agreeing to deals with Mike Muscala and Alec Burks early in free agency, tacking a couple more shooters on the roster. But those aren’t difference makers and there was mounting evidence that the Westbrook-George pairing had a ceiling.

NBA: Thunder's Russell Westbrook traded to Rockets for Chris Paul

NBA: Thunder's Russell Westbrook traded to Rockets for Chris Paul Russell Westbrook has been traded by the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Houston Rockets in a deal for Chris Paul and draft picks, according to ESPN.

The Oklahoma City Thunder traded eight-time All-Star Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets , according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski Wojnarowski added Westbrook and his agent worked in tandem with Thunder general manager Sam Presti to get him to Houston.

Rockets ’ Russell Westbrook -James Harden Pairing Latest NBA Star Duo. While the Rockets bolstered their outlook with the Westbrook trade, it sets up yet another dynamic duo in the NBA. Although some teams are still able to roll out their own form of a “big three,” we’ve seen star pairings

The Thunder knew this. Sam Presti—Oklahoma City’s calculating GM—understood. There were reasons to give that team another year, to see if a healthy George, a returning Roberson and another year of continuity could yield results in a suddenly wide-open west. The Thunder promised George they would fight for championships when they re-signed him, and Westbrook has never settled for anything less. But if OKC’s season fizzled again, Presti was likely going to have to shop his stars next summer—without the suitors that were available in this one.

ESPN described Presti as “crestfallen” by George’s trade request. Disappointed, maybe. Presti and the Thunder organization put in yeoman’s work keeping George in the fold. But that request was manna from heaven, a gift from the basketball gods, and the team knew it. Presti could deal with two teams—the Clippers and Raptors—desperate to sign Kawhi Leonard, knowing that acquiring George was the only way to do it. He had the Rockets, a team with internal issues, needing to shake things up. Houston doubled as Westbrook’s preferred destination, no small wrinkle since Presti was never, ever going to ship his former franchise player to a destination he didn’t like.

Report: Russell Westbrook, Thunder discussing possibility of trade

Report: Russell Westbrook, Thunder discussing possibility of trade The Oklahoma City Thunder and Russell Westbrook are at a crossroads, and both sides may be ready to move on. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Westbrook’s agent, Thad Foucher, is discussing Westbrook’s next steps with Thunder general manager Sam Presti. One of those steps could be exploring trade possibilities, with both sides recognizing that the time may have come after an 11-year partnership to explore external possibilities.

Russell Westbrook traded to the Houston Rockets in exchange for Chris Paul in the latest blockbuster deal of the NBA offseason. Westbrook and Harden were Thunder teammates, part of a team along with Kevin Durant that went to the 2012 NBA Finals and lost to LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the

Report: Thunder Trade Russell Westbrook to Rockets for Chris Paul. 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.

Oklahoma City dealt two franchise cornerstones, and it’s hard to see how they could have got back more in return. They officially tumble from the ranks of the contenders but are armed to the teeth with what you need to build a team to rejoin them.

Make no mistake: The pressure is on Presti now. The Thunder are playing the long game here, but short term results are vital. Oklahoma City’s draft capital—what projects to be 15 first-round picks and four swaps in the next seven years, per ESPN’s Bobby Marks—is impressive, but picks eventually become people, and the Thunder need to land the right ones. Presti’s drafts have been mixed bags. He built a powerhouse around Durant and Westbrook by snaring Ibaka, and Reggie Jackson with late first-round picks, while turning Harden into the pick that became Steven Adams. But recent whiffs (Perry Jones, Mitch McGary, Cameron Payne) have set the franchise back.

Goes without saying, but let’s: Oklahoma City is going to have to hit on more than it misses.

There is the matter of Paul, too. It’s unlikely Paul will want to spend the twilight of his career with the rebuilding Thunder. Presti plans to meet with Paul’s agent, Leon Rose, in the coming days. Expect Oklahoma City to be willing partners in a trade. Miami, perhaps. Do not expect the Thunder to buy Paul out. Oklahoma City has no problem being competitive next season. With Paul, it would be hard for them not to be. Paul supplants Westbrook, Danilo Gallinari replaces George and while no one will be planning a ticker-tape parade through Bricktown, throw Gilgeous-Alexander, Adams, Roberson and Dennis Schroder into the mix and that’s not a team spiraling to the bottom. If Paul wants out, someone is going to have to come get him.

After Russell Westbrook trade, the Thunder now have an absurd amount of draft picks

After Russell Westbrook trade, the Thunder now have an absurd amount of draft picks After Russell Westbrook trade, the Thunder now have an absurd amount of draft picks , general manager Sam Presti reportedly continued the team's rebuild by trading Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets for Chris Paul ... and a somewhat less absurd amount of draft picks.

Trade Grades: Thunder , Rockets Swap Stars in Russell Westbrook -Chris Paul Deal . In a blockbuster trade that will send Russell Westbrook to Houston and Chris Paul to OKC, the Thunder actually come away with an abundance of value as they prepare for an all-out rebuild.

Russell Westbrook reacts after making a basket against the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 3 of the The deal reunites Westbrook and James Harden, who played three seasons together on the Paul, 34, played for the Rockets for the last two years, helping the Rockets finish first in the Western

A new era dawns in Oklahoma City, and there will be different ways people remember the old one. They were the upstarts, the overachievers, the small market outsiders who vanquished the conference establishment, building an improbable power. They were the underachievers, a team of unfulfilled promise, forever haunted by the Harden trade and the thought of what could have been.

On Thursday, news of the deal broke while I was recording a podcast with Wizards coach Scott Brooks. Brooks was part of the fabric of those Oklahoma City teams, a patient, tough-minded developmental coach who brought the best out of a young roster. I asked Brooks: Does he ever wonder what could have been?

“Absolutely,” Brooks said. “You can always play the what-if game. And when you do that, the hypotheticals, they always play to your favor. I say, ‘We would have won five championships.’ But that’s easy for all of us to say. There were tough decisions that had to be made, and they were made.”

Indeed. Oklahoma City made another decision this week, and Russell Westbrook is gone. A long chapter closes for the Thunder. A new one begins.

Related slideshow: 2019 NBA offseason moves (Provided by imagn)

Thunder Preparing for Fresh Start After Dealing Russell Westbrook to Rockets

Mike D’Antoni: Rockets offense ‘not changing much’ with Russell Westbrook.
The Houston Rockets may have to make some changes now that Russell Westbrook will be sharing the floor with James Harden next season, but head coach Mike D’Antoni insists any adjustments will be minor. D’Antoni discussed the acquisition of Westbrook in an appearance on “The Woj Pod” this week, and he said there will be no need to change Houston’s offense much with Westbrook. He noted how the Rockets had the second-best offense in the NBA behind the Golden State Warriors last season. Houston’s Mike D’Antoni on The Woj Pod pic.twitter.

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