On the one-year anniversary T.I. re-grades the OKC Thunder deal that sent Russell Westbrook to the Rockets.
On July 11, 2019, the OKC Thunder capped a surprising offseason of trades. That it was Russell Westbrook — the most beloved player in OKC Thunder history leaving was a bitter pill for many in Thunder Nation to swallow.
After Paul George
demanded requested a trade to the Clippers one season after pledging his allegiance to OKC and Sam Presti delivered on his request the writing was on the wall. It simply made no sense to hold onto the beloved superstar. Although Westbrook had been with the franchise since it’s inception it was time to regroup and head in a new direction.
Furthermore, there isn’t a fan in OKC (even if they weren’t big Westbrook fans) who wouldn’t admit the Brodie had delivered his 100 percent every second he was a member of the Thunder. Westbrook lived through being the one primarily blamed for the team’s failures, remained and re-signed after Durant left, gave the Thunder fans a magical triple-double MVP season, and simply left every piece of his heart and soul on the hardwood.
Off the court, while some media members didn’t exactly experience the best of the point guard the same can’t be said for the community. Westbrook was philanthropically active in Oklahoma City. He and his wife Nina opened a baby retail outlet ‘The Little Ark’ and the couple welcomed their three children (Noah, Jordyn, and Skye) while he played for the Thunder. Although he calls LA home, the Westbrook’s will always be considered integral and welcome members of the OKC community.
Thunder fans watched Russell Westbrook enter the league, develop into a superstar, and have ample highlights from his 11 seasons — enough to fill our memory banks for a lifetime. In speaking to fans on the day of his trade and throughout this season most are on the same page. Russell Westbrook may play for another team but he will forever be considered a member of the OKC Thunder!
OKC Thunder trade Russell Westbrook
When he left for the Rockets, a team who also landed previous Thunder star James Harden, again it was tough to accept, This was the team after all who at one time featured Patrick Beverley. The player who injured Westbrook during the 2013 playoffs on what many considered a late, cheap shot. I still can’t fathom how Russ played the rest of that game on a torn meniscus. Although there are many ‘what if’s ” in Thunder lore that very moment felt like the beginning of the end of the Golden era.
So, with Paul George gone and Westbrook deserving of an opportunity to win a deal was brokered to trade him to the Rockets for Chris Paul plus draft stock:
- Rockets 2024 first-round draft picks (protected 1 – 4)
- Rockets 2026 first-round draft picks (protected 1 – 4)
- Option to swap first-round 2021 draft pick with Rockets (protected 1-4)
- Option to swap first-round 2025 pick with Rockets (protected 1-10).
Note: given the Clippers trade also includes draft swaps the Heat and Clippers picks are also in the mix. Real GM offers full details on how the swaps would work.
A new era was afoot for both franchises and while the Rockets were pegged as early title favorites the OKC Thunder were cited as lottery-bound.
That’s the beauty of predictions, however, as everyone but the Thunder players believed they weren’t playoff threats. While both teams have secured their playoff berth as the teams prepare to resume the season in Orlando it is the Thunder who sit ahead of the Rockets owning the tiebreak having won the season series two games to one.
With that, let’s revisit the trade that occurred a year ago today with a view to how it’s affecting both clubs one year later.