Almost 50 years to the day of the moon landing, Russell Westbrook is blasting out of OKC and is now officially a member of the Houston Rockets. Both the Thunder and Rockets officially announced the trade Tuesday.
Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti said in the teams release how the trade went down and followed that up by paying Westbrook the ultimate compliment.
“We recently had conversations with Russell about the team, his career, and how he sees the future. Through those conversations we came to the understanding that looking at some alternative situations would be something that made sense for him. As a result, and due to his history with the Thunder, we worked together to accommodate this. Our ability to have these types of conversations and work so closely with Russell and his agent Thad Foucher is only possible because of the depth of the relationship that has been built over the last 11 years.
“Russell Westbrook is 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. 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.”
Before the Westbrook trade became official, Sam Presti paid one last visit to Westbrook in OKC at his basketball camp.
Thunder Chairman Clay Bennett added this about Westbrook from the release, “I have a great deal of respect for Russell and there is no way to adequately describe our appreciation for what he has meant to Oklahomans,” said Thunder Chairman Clayton I. Bennett. “His legacy here is immense, and he will be honored by the team for all he has done. We wish he and Nina and their family all the best. While this era of Thunder basketball now comes to an end, I’m confident our talented team of people will once again position the Thunder for success in the future.”
In the deal OKC acquired two first round picks (2024 & 2026) and two first round pick swaps (2021 & 2025). Presti also went into detail about acquiring Chris Paul saying, “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. 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.”