This past offseason, the Houston Rockets and the Oklahoma City Thunder pulled off a blockbuster trade that sent Russell Westbrook to Houston in exchange for Chris Paul, two first-round picks and the right to swap two more first-rounders.
The trade reunited Westbrook with James Harden, who played together in Oklahoma City for three-seasons [2009-2012]. The move also paired two of the last three MVP’s in the Rockets backcourt.
As for the Thunder, they are clearly in a rebuilding mindset with all the picks they were able to accumulate via this deal, along with one sending Paul George to the Los Angeles Clippers. While Paul is not looking to be a part of a rebuilding situation at this point in his career, the Thunder are expected to attempt to trade him at some point this season.
Paul was recently on an episode of ‘Cold as Balls’ with comedian Kevin Hart. During the interview, the two discussed Paul’s time in Houston and being traded.
“Every situation is different, the team will tell you one thing and do another thing,” said Paul.
Paul talked about whether there had been times where trades were eye-opening experiences and admitted that was the case with the last situation.
“This last situation was one of them. The GM in Houston didn’t owe me anything; he may tell me one thing and do another thing, but you understand that’s what it is.”
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Jalen Rose on the Chris Paul-Russell Westbrook Trade
Back in July following the announcement that Paul had been traded to Oklahoma City for Westbook, Jalen Rose was on ESPN’s Get Up and shared that the trade actually brought parity back to the league.
“I like that we now actually have parity in the NBA,” said Rose. “When we’re going into the season, you can have a remote controller in your hand, and you can see multiple great teams throughout the league, and none of us have a distinct favorite for who’s gonna win it all next season.”
Do Rockets Have What They Need to Win a Title?
Back in September, ESPN’s Nick Friedell and Scottie Pippen were featured on The Jump and they were both asked if the Rockets were real contenders to win the title this season.
“No! Honestly, No,” said Friedell. “I just don’t believe that the pairing of Harden and Westbrook is going to work. We have seen historically those guys are best when those guys have the ball in their hands and they can do whatever they want with it. How are they going to co-exist now together and all of a sudden one guy says no no no you take it?”
“I understand why they made the move because they were going nowhere with Chris Paul as the second piece of that group. However, I just don’t think those two at this point in their career are going to be able to bridge the gap to get them through the west and then to the Finals.”
Pippen took the other side of the argument, backing the Westbrook/Harden duo and their potential to make a title run.
“I normally don’t like to disagree with this guy, but I’m going to disagree this time because I think Russell Westbrook, is the piece that Mike D’Antoni needs, said Pippen. You look at some of the point guards he has had in the past, Chris Paul, Steve Nash, this guy got a motor, and he will play that point guard position than those two guys. I think his force, and thrust is going to help the Houston Rockets,” Pippen said.