The Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets agreed to a major trade on Thursday involving Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook.
Houston is trading CP3, two first-round draft picks (2024 and 2026) and the right to swap picks in 2021 and 2025 to the Thunder for Westbrook, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
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.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 12, 2019
Shams Charania has the information on the protections for the picks and pick swaps.
Sources: Pick protections in Thunder/Rockets, Russell Westbrook/Chris Paul trade:
2024 first round pick, protected 1-4
2026 first round pick, protected 1-4
2025 swap, 1-20 protected
2021 swap, protected 1-4 — OKC can swap Clippers pick or Heat pick.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 12, 2019
The Thunder became open to trading Westbrook after dealing Paul George to the Clippers, which began the process of them stripping down their team for a rebuild. The Miami Heat were viewed as a top potential destination for Westbrook, but they do not have draft picks to trade and reportedly did not want to include any desirable young players in the deal. That allowed Houston to step in, which had to add in draft pick compensation to make up for OKC taking on Chris Paul’s contract.
Westbrook is due $170 million over the next four seasons, while Paul is owed about $124 million over the next three seasons, including his player option.
The Thunder picked up five first-round draft picks in their trade with the Clippers and have now added two more. Not only will the picks play a role in their ability to rebuild through the draft, but they will also be able to use the future picks in trades to acquire players too.
The trade reunites Westbrook and James Harden. Harden was originally drafted by the Thunder and played three seasons with them before OKC traded him to Houston, where he emerged as a superstar and eventual league MVP.
This trade is an improvement for the Rockets to their current team. Westbrook has dealt with knee issues but is still three years younger than Paul, who has been hampered by constant hamstring problems. Houston was already committed to paying Paul well above his market value for the next three seasons, so paying another guard just as much money is no different to them financially. But they do have a better player now.
The trade also makes it seem like the reports that the Rockets were looking to trade Paul were accurate.