Western Conference Landscape Shaken up Again
The Western Conference Shaken up Yet Again
The Western Conference just got another bombshell dropped on it. Just a few days after Kawhi Leonard came to the Los Angeles Clippers, the Houston Rockets traded Chris Paul to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for Russell Westbrook. It should come as no surprise that the Thunder traded Westbrook considering they are hitting the reset button after trading Paul George to the Clippers. What’s surprising is that they decided to trade Brodie to Houston, despite many rumors saying the Miami Heat were interested in the triple-double machine. What exactly does this mean for each team?
What Did the Houston Rockets Give Up to Continue Competing?
As one would expect, Westbrook’s services did not come cheap. Not only did they give up Chris Paul, but they also gave up first-round picks in 2024 and 2026. The Thunder also get pick swaps in 2021 and 2025. This seems to be a bit of a desperation move on the Rockets’ part as their championship window is closing rapidly. Especially coming off the heels of rumors swirling about dissension between James Harden and Chris Paul.
The Oklahoma City Thunder have agreed to trade Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets for Chris Paul, first-round picks in 2024 and 2026, pick swaps in 2021 and 2025, league sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 12, 2019
Granted, Westbrook and Harden are former teammates. However, those days in Oklahoma City when they were teammates are long gone. Keep in mind, for much of that time, Harden came off the bench and won the Sixth Man of the Year Award in 2012. Things are different now as Harden is used to be the number one option and is a former MVP just like Westbrook. Having two ball-dominant players trying to co-exist in the back-court could backfire on the Rockets. However, many thought the same thing when the Rockets traded for Chris Paul and they found a lot of success together, so we will see how this pans out in the Western Conference.
Oklahoma City Thunder in Full Rebuild Mode Now
The Thunder have officially hit the reset button now. They traded their dynamic duo after receiving a healthy dose of draft picks from both the Clippers and the Rockets. It will be interesting to see how they proceed with Chris Paul. On one hand, he could form a nice duo with the center, Steven Adams. However, that duo will be lucky to even get the eighth seed in the competitive West. On the other hand, Chris Paul is not getting any younger.
He is almost past his prime, if not already. He may want to go to a contender. The Thunder no longer fits that bill. As a result, there is a chance we could see the Thunder buy out Paul. That way, he can be free to choose his destination or even the team could orchestrate another trade. CP3 can get what he wants and let the Thunder fully focus on rebuilding for the future. Overall, this just adds more drama to the wild Western Conference and makes this already entertaining off-season even more entertaining.