The latest in NBA off season news is that former teammates James Harden and Russell Westbrook have been reunited in Houston. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted out on Thursday night that, “The Oklahoma City Thunder have agreed to trade Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets for Chris Paul, first-round picks in 2024 and 2026, pick swaps in 2021 and 2025, league sources tell ESPN.” This means that the Rockets backcourt next season will be shared by two former league MVP guards.
Harden and Westbrook shared the court from 2009 – 2012, prior to Harden’s trade to the Rockets. The landscape of the NBA and their styles of play have changed drastically over the past decade so it will be interesting to see what is in store for the next season. Ramona Shelburne of ESPN reported that Rockets Coach Mike D’Antoni allegedly will stagger their minutes to accommodate their ball-dominant style of play.
“When Mike (D’Antoni) had Chris Paul and James Harden together, they often did not play together on the court,” Shelburne explained on ESPN’s The Jump. “Their minutes did not overlap. My understanding is that’s the same plan with Harden and Westbrook going forward.”
Harden, who led the league in scoring the past two seasons, and Westbrook, who has averaged a triple double the last three seasons, have the highest usage rates in the league history. Many are skeptical of either player’s ability to play off the ball but no one can know for sure. There is no sense in making any sort of predictions at this point, so how about everyone just wait and all will be revealed once the season begins.
In other Rockets news, owner Tilman Fertita was fined by the NBA a sum of $25,000 for making comments about the Russell Westbrook trade prior to its close. In an interview with Fox 26, Fertitta said, “We’re excited to have Russell Westbrook. I would watch him play for Oklahoma City, and he’s so athletic. At the same time, this franchise just had two years with the most wins it’s ever had in consecutive years, and we wouldn’t have accomplished that without Chris Paul. Chris Paul is unbelievable, and he’s gonna be sadly missed.”