The Houston Rockets have officially acquired Russell Westbrook from the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for Chris Paul, two first-round picks (2024 and 2026) and the rights to two first-round picks swaps (2021 and 2025).
The long-reported move was announced by both teams Tuesday evening.
In a news release, Thunder general manager Sam Presti called Westbrook “the most important player in the brief history of the Oklahoma City Thunder.”
“He has left an indelible mark on this team, city and state. None of us could have anticipated the player he has become, and we are all deeply proud of what he has contributed to the success of the franchise and to our community,” Presti said. “Russell and his wife Nina, their three children, his brother and his parents will always remain part of the Thunder family. We WISh them nothing but happiness and success in the future.”
Westbrook, an eight-time All-Star and the 2016-17 MVP, leaves the Thunder as their all-time leader in scoring, assists, rebounds and steals.
Harden and Westbrook, who began their careers as teammates on the Thunder, have both finished in the top-10 for MVP voting in each of the past five seasons, with both placing in the top-five in the same season three times over that span. They last played together during the 2012 NBA Finals.
Paul, a nine-time All-Star, played in Oklahoma City during his rookie season in 2005-06 as New Orleans dealt with the after-effects of Hurricane Katrina.
“Getting a player of Chris’ caliber gives us another experienced playmaker and leader, while the additional draft picks continue to allow us to further commit to the long-term vision that we are embarking on for the Thunder,” Presti said Tuesday. “We welcome Chris back to Oklahoma City where as a member of the Hornets he helped to pave the way for the Thunder’s arrival in OKC.”