In an NBA offseason filled with blockbuster moves, the Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets reportedly delivered another on Thursday night in a stunning swap involving All-Star point guards Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Houston is sending first-round picks in 2024 and 2026 along with rights to pick swap in 2021 and 2025 to Oklahoma City as part of the swap of Paul for Westbrook.
According to the report, Westbrook preferred to be traded to Houston to be paired up with Harden in a reunion and Oklahoma City general manager Sam Presti delivered.
The move comes less than a week after Oklahoma City traded All-Star forward Paul George to the Los Angeles Clippers for multiple first-round picks, Danilo Gallinari and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
Houston moves on from the 34-year-old Paul, who was limited to 58 games for the second consecutive season, and averaged 15.6 points, 8.2 assists and 4.6 rebounds per game.
Westbrook is coming off his third consecutive season in which he averaged a triple-double. The 30-year-old averaged 22.9 points, 10.7 assists and 11.1 rebounds per game during the 2018-’19 season.
Paul is under contract for at least the next two seasons and is owed $38.5 million in 2019, $41.35 million in 2020 and holds a $44.2M player option for his age-36 season in 2022.
Westbrook’s contract carries the same financial terms as Paul’s deal in the first two years of the deal. However, he will remain under contract in 2021 at $44 million and holds a player option in 2023 for $47 million when he would be 33.
Oklahoma City has now acquired eight first-round picks over the last week by trading George, Westbrook and power forward Jerami Grant as it begins a massive rebuild.