OKC Deals Westbrook to Houston; State Farm Keeps Chris Paul
There goes the opportunity for Chris Paul and James Harden to duke it out for royalties in a State Farm life insurance commercial.
Now the divorce is complete:
- Paul's heading to a whistle stop in Oklahoma City, and
- Harden's getting together with a former teammate in Russell Westbrook.
Paul George asking for a trade was the catalyst for this move, although word is Westbrook was already looking for greener pastures.
Paul was clearly fed up in Houston. Dude's a pick-&-roller who was becoming increasingly annoyed with Harden's hero-ball routine, especially with coach Mike D'Antoni's system encouraging it. His demeanor certainly exuded the thought bubble that I'm playing through injuries for this?
Maybe he wasn't acting in this commercial:
Meanwhile, the next Thunder team to make the playoffs will feature players -- depending on their tankability -- from the likes of Duke, Kentucky, Washington, Memphis, overseas, and wherever nearly-pro basketball is played.
Sources: Pick protections in Thunder/Rockets, Russell Westbrook/Chris Paul trade:— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 12, 2019
2024 first round pick, protected 1-4
2026 first round pick, protected 1-4
2025 swap, 1-20 protected
2021 swap, protected 1-4 -- OKC can swap Clippers pick or Heat pick.
Apparently, Paul wants to join Jimmy Butler in Miami. That'll take a bitta creativity:
- With Butler's contract, the Heat are up against a hard cap, plus
- The Thunder never eat salary, and Paul's still owed $124million.
Still, with all the future chips in Thunder GM Daryl Morey's hot stack ...
I left out Thunder's Jerami Grant deal with Denver: OKC has acquired EIGHT first-round picks since draft night: 2020: Denver (1-10), 2021: Miami; 2022: LAC; 2023: Miami (1-14), 2024: LAC; 2024: Houston (1-14); 2026: LAC; 2026: Houston (1-4).— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 12, 2019
... tossing a few of them into a Paul deal with someone is gonna get the job done.
Meanwhile, down in Mission Control, Houston may have another problem. The NBA is insistent on enforcing a sticky little rule that says only one basketball at a time can be on the court.
Well, it is a player's league these days.
The NBA is crazy.— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) July 12, 2019
Maybe so. It's also got more buddy sets than the local public pool:
Notable duos in the West next season— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) July 12, 2019
Rockets: Harden, Westbrook
Warriors: Steph, Draymond (eventually Klay)
Clippers: Kawhi, George
Blazers: Lillard, McCollum
Lakers: LeBron, AD
Jazz: Conley, Mitchell
Nuggets: Murray, Jokic
Mavericks: Doncic, Porzingis
Pelicans: Holiday, Zion
Gotta go with the Clips' tandem, there. The supporting cast plays better defense.
In that light, maybe Paul's the real winner in this scenario even if he doesn't get a buddy and assuming he gets the hell outta the West.