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#pounditSaturday, January 16, 2021

Report: James Harden wanted to team with Russell Westbrook

James harden

The Houston Rockets made a major trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder for Russell Westbrook on Thursday, and it sounds like they did so because their star player wanted it.

Shortly after the trade was reported on Thursday, two reporters said that James Harden wanted to play with Westbrook.

ESPN’s Tim MacMahon said Harden was a driving force in the deal.

Reporting on NBATV during a Summer League game, Allie LaForce reported that she spoke with someone in Houston’s organization who said Harden is “excited” to play with Russell Westbrook but sad to see Chris Paul go. LaForce says she was told Harden made it very clear that he wanted the trade so he could reunite with Westbrook.

Westbrook and Harden were drafted a year apart by the Thunder and played together for three seasons before Harden was dealt to Houston. Now seven years later they will have a chance to play together again.

There are several questions about how they will fit together considering they are both so ball-dominant and the Rockets’ offense is dependent on 3-point shooting around Harden, which is not Westbrook’s strength. Westbrook will have to fall into a role of not having the ball as much while playing alongside Harden, which should boost his efficiency.

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