The Houston Rockets have made a blockbuster move to reunite James Harden with his former teammate Russell Westbrook. While rumblings around the Rockets making a potential trade this offseason swirled, it came to fruition on Thursday as the team struck a deal to acquire the Oklahoma City Thunder star. This move comes following the Thunder’s decision to trade Paul George to the Los Angeles Clippers, which led to the chatter that Westbrook may be available.
Not surprisingly, the Rockets proceeded to pounce on the opportunity to land the 30-year-old All-Star. As we’ve seen on numerous occasions, Houston’s general manager Daryl Morey proved he was ready and willing to swing for the fences in an effort to bring another superstar to town.
And as ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported, the Rockets managed to put together an offer which was appealing enough to acquire Westbrook. In turn, it means they’ve added a new star and created one of the NBA’s best backcourts. The deal includes Chris Paul, two first-round picks and two pick swaps in exchange for Westbrook, per Wojnarowski.
This is obviously noteworthy for a number of reasons. For the Thunder, it’s another massive step forward in their rebuild, as they had already traded George and Jerami Grant prior to moving Westbrook. But for the Rockets, this keeps them in the mix as one of the most dangerous teams in the Western Conference for the 2019-20 season and beyond.
We’re going to take a look at the updated Rockets roster and starting lineup with Westbrook and Harden paired up.
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Houston Rockets Roster & Starting Lineup After Russell Westbrook Trade
*Notates expected starter
C: Clint Capela*, Isaiah Hartenstein, Dyonta Davis
PF: PJ Tucker*
SF: Danuel House Jr.*, Gerald Green, Gary Clark
SG: James Harden*, Eric Gordon, Michael Frazier, William McDowell-White
PG: Russell Westbrook*, Austin Rivers, Chris Chiozza, Shamorie Ponds, Chris Clemons
The deal gives the Rockets one of the most intriguing rosters in the NBA and creates an interesting storyline with Westbrook and Harden now back together. The two players began their careers with the Thunder before Harden was moved to the Rockets. Houston helped themselves in a big way with this deal, as it keeps them in the mix in a brutally tough Western Conference which features an impressive amount of star power.
As far as what lies ahead, the championship window for the Rockets remains open, although the duo of Westbrook and Harden will have some tough competition in the form of other star pairings.
Rockets’ Russell Westbrook-James Harden Pairing Latest NBA Star Duo
While the Rockets bolstered their outlook with the Westbrook trade, it sets up yet another dynamic duo in the NBA. Although some teams are still able to roll out their own form of a “big three,” we’ve seen star pairings beginning to come together across the league.
Both the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers managed to use the 2019 NBA offseason to put two big names together. For the Lakers, they acquired Anthony Davis to pair with LeBron James, while the Clippers traded for Paul George and signed Kawhi Leonard in free agency.
Beyond that, the Brooklyn Nets signed Durant and Kyrie Irving while the Philadelphia 76ers still have Joel Embiid with Ben Simmons. Philly bolstered their roster even more by re-signing Tobias Harris this offseason and also adding former Boston Celtics forward Al Horford. There are also additional duos who have been together for far longer such as Portland Trail Blazers guards Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, along with John Wall and Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards.