Rockets get Russell Westbrook in blockbuster trade

HOUSTON, Texas -- Once considered a long shot, the Oklahoma City Thunder have agreed to trade Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets for Chris Paul, sources tell ESPN.

The Thunder will also get first-round picks in 2024 and 2026, and pick swaps in 2021 and 2025, according to the report.

On Monday, sources told ESPN the Rockets were among the teams interested in trading for Westbrook. The only concern was finding pieces that fit with the Thunder or pulling off a complicated multiteam deal.

In the aftermath of the trade that sent Paul George to the LA Clippers, Westbrook and his agent, Thad Foucher, engaged with Thunder general manager Sam Presti about the next step of the point guard's career, including the possibility of a trade before next season, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported.

Westbrook, 30, has spent his entire 11-year career in Oklahoma City, but the franchise seems primed for a rebuilding period after receiving a record haul of five future first-round picks and All-Rookie point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in the George deal.

The Thunder also received forward Danilo Gallinari in the trade, but the veteran versatile scoring threat could be rerouted to another team.

Westbrook averaged 22.9 points, 11.1 rebounds and 10.9 assists last season, marking the third consecutive campaign he averaged a triple-double.

The interest in Westbrook fits Rockets general manager Daryl Morey's pattern of aggressively pursuing superstars.

Houston landed Paul in a sign-and-trade deal with the Clippers two years ago and attempted to add Jimmy Butler under similar circumstances this summer. Butler, however, did not meet with the Rockets before agreeing to a deal with the Miami Heat.

The Rockets also had interest in trading for Carmelo Anthony and George before the Thunder dealt for both during the 2017 offseason, and Houston signed Anthony for the veteran's minimum after he was traded to Atlanta and received a buyout last summer.

Morey had acknowledged aggressively exploring the trade market this offseason but said recently that Paul and perennial All-NBA guard James Harden were the two players who would "definitely" return to the Rockets next season.

The trade reunited Westbrook with Harden, his former Thunder teammate and fellow recent MVP. The Rockets acquired Harden, a sixth man in Oklahoma City, in a trade just before the 2012-13 season after the Thunder decided they did not want to give him a maximum contract.

Westbrook won the MVP in a close vote over Harden in 2016-17, when the Thunder point guard averaged a league-leading 31.6 points, 10.7 rebounds and 10.4 assists, joining Oscar Robertson as the only players in NBA history to average a triple-double for a season. Harden has won the scoring title the past two seasons and the MVP in 2017-18.
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