Russell Westbrook goes down south; Houston, not Miami

The Earth shook once more, as the basketball world felt the aftershocks from NBA Free Agency on Thursday.  

The Oklahoma City Thunder agree to a blockbuster trade that will ship off Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets, where he’ll be reunited with James Harden, according to ESPN. Westbrook played with Harden for four seasons with OKC, including the 2012 NBA Finals against the Miami Heat.

NBA shocks us again; the reports had Miami as Westbrook’s front runner, only until hours later he signed with Houston. 

Does Westbrook not want to play for the team that he lost to in the Finals? I guess I could see that. 

The Houston Rockets are clearly trying to win now, for they gave up a boat load of draft picks for Westbrook. Rockets GM Daryl Morey is going with the win now mentality, and hope that the Westbrook-Harden reunion will work out – for it could cost them. 

You could say that the Thunder are rebuilding, trading away their best and final superstar, and now reportedly could move Chris Paul to clear more cap space. While Paul is a talented, admirable 34-year old player, not every team in the NBA is lining up for his remaining three-year, $129 million contract. 

Sam Presti, and this Thunder team will be veteran-less, if they decide to trade their Center Steven Adams as well as Chris Paul. GM Sam Presti and OKC, are looking to completely rebuild and planning for the future, for they certainly are in great position with all of their newly acquired picks.  

A lot has happened since the Westbrook-Harden era ended in OKC, for they both are now superstar players. 

Since 2012, both players won MVP, and Harden was runner-up three times. Westbrook also is the first player since Oscar Robertson, to average a triple-double in a season, and he did it three straight years running.  

There are a lot of questions, however, for this new Rockets team. 

Will a ball-dominant type guard like Harden and Russell co-exist? They are going to have to find that championship chemistry they had built in OKC. 

Harden led in points last season, along with Westbrook at 2nd. They also have been at the top of the NBA in terms of efficiency.

I myself, am not so sure how this will work out for the Rockets, while on paper it does make them a contender in the West. The question is though, how far? 

The Western Conference is tough, and I just think if Westbrook signed with Miami, it would be an easier path to the Finals. Let see though if this finally pushes the Houston Rockets over the hump. 

Photo by Getty Images/Ringer Illustration, from the ringer.com

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