Russell Westbrook makes his debut as a visitor and in hindsight, his trade may be the greatest gift he ever gave the OKC Thunder.
This evening the OKC Thunder tips off versus the Houston Rockets but it’s not a typical game versus a top Western opponent. Russell Westbrook makes his return to the Peake as a visitor for the first time and it’s also the only time this season he’ll appear in OKC.
Over the past few days, the franchise paid homage to the former cornerstone and the point guard himself has enthused about his fond memories of his time with the organization and in the city. Suffice to say there is nothing but fond memories all around.
This past offseason, Westbrook re-joined former OKC Thunder teammate and childhood friend James Harden in Houston. The duo has positioned themselves in the third seed and is figuring out a way to function seemingly to good effect so far.
With Westbrook’s return, there are countless memories dancing in our heads of his time spent here and all the gifts he brought this young franchise. But, as we reminisce about the Brodie’s 11 seasons with the OKC Thunder arguably his best gift is his farewell present. Specifically, the player and the picks which came back to the Thunder via his trade.
For as much as Westbrook epitomized the culture and identity of this organization as OKC turns a corner and enters a new era, the team is thriving. The draft closet is full including the two picks and two draft swaps Sam Presti leveraged in the trade. That might seem like a throwaway given where the Rockets currently sit. However, given those picks will come in 2024 and 2026 who is to say where Houston will reside by that time?