Presti: Westbrook most important player in Thunder history

All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook was traded from the Thunder to the Rockets.

The trade sending Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets for Chris Paul is now official, and Thunder general manager Sam Presti had something to say about it.

More accurately, Presti wanted to make sure to praise Westbrook — who spent each of his 11 seasons in Oklahoma City, and unlike so many other superstars, never once indicated he was playing with one eye on the door.

Instead, Westbrook stayed the course, represented the franchise with pride and became a triple-double waiting to happen.

“We recently had conversations with Russell about the team, his career, and how he sees the future,” Presti said. “Through those conversations we came to the understanding that looking at some alternative situations would be something that made sense for him.

“As a result, and due to his history with the Thunder, we worked together to accommodate thi. Our ability to have these types of conversations and work so closely with Russell and his agent Thad Foucher is only possible because of the depth of the relationship that has been built over the last 11 years.”

Presti added:

“Russell Westbrook is the most important player in the brief history of the Oklahoma City Thunder. He has left an indelible mark on this team, city and state. None of us could have anticipated the player he has become, and we are all deeply proud of what he has contributed to the success of the franchise and to our community.

“Russell and his wife Nina, their three children, his brother and his parents will always remain part of the Thunder family. We wish them nothing but happiness and success in the future.”

Westbrook, 30, will be reunited with former Thunder teammate James Harden with the Rockets. Harden and Paul seemed to have their differences, but Harden and Westrbook are tight. Once it became clear the Thunder would trade Westbrook, both Westbrook and Harden pushed for Houston as the next destination.

As for Paul … it remains to be seen. The Thunder could keep him, or trade him, and we may not know until well into next season.