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Just when you thought it couldn’t get more insane.
In a summer full of blockbuster moves and major signings, the NBA world was rocked again Thursday night when the Oklahoma City Thunder traded All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook to the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Houston Rockets for point guard Chris Paul, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
The Rockets also sent first-round picks in 2024 and 2026 to the Thunder, Wojnarowski added.
Thunder general manager Sam Presti had been deep in conversations about Westbrook after Paul George was granted a trade to the Los Angeles Clippers. Once George decided he wanted to join Kawhi Leonard, the rebuild in OKC was under way.
Westbrook didn’t demand a trade and was even open to staying with the Thunder. But he was more than willing to go somewhere else.
He will now team with fellow former NBA MVP and Rockets guard James Harden — a former teammate of Westbrook’s with the Thunder.
Along with moving the veteran Paul and his large contract, Rockets GM Daryl Morey reshaped his team by adding two ball-dominant guards who can score at well. Both are adept at racking up large assists numbers as well, and Westbrook in particular is an outstanding rebounder.
Meanwhile, the full rebuild is on in OKC. Paul joins a cast that also includes center Steven Adams, shooting guard Andre Roberson (when healthy) and point guard Dennis Schroder. But for the Thunder, it’s clearly all about the picks.
“The Thunder are playing a long game unseen in recent NBA history, adding eight first-round picks lined up through 2026 — plus four pick swaps — via the Westbrook, Paul George and Jerami Grant trades,” Wojnarowski wrote.