Russell Westbrook
The Rockets trade for Russell Westbrook in a move that reeks of desperation (Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports)

It took me a full night sleep to wrap my head around the Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul Trade. Oklahoma City will acquire two first round picks in 2024 and 2026 along with two other pick swaps. The Thunder got more than I thought they would for Westbrook but had to eat the bad Chris Paul contract to pick up those draft picks. Over and over again I just kept thinking one thing. The Houston Rockets are screwed. The trade for Russell Westbrook doesn’t do anything except reek of desperation.

On the court, the James Harden and Russell Westbrook duo didn’t work. That’s why Harden came off the bench and was eventually moved. OKC choose a future with Westbrook for three reasons. 1: They thought he was better than Harden…. YIKES. 2: They didn’t want to pay the luxury tax… YIKES. 3: They didn’t believe Harden and Russ worked well together. Now that Russ and James are the two highest usage rate guys in the league, who is going to take a step back? The likely answer is nobody which has trainwreck written all over it.

I get that Chris Paul soaked up too much of the Rockets cap. This was probably the only way to move him. That’s why Daryl Morey came out and said Paul wasn’t getting traded earlier this offseason. Still, there are so many questions that need to be asked. Is this still James Harden’s team? How is selfish Russ going to handle that? Are we done with the whole Triple Double thing? If not, this team is really screwed. Who dribbles the ball up the floor? Will the other guy do anything other than stand and watch? If Westbrook actually going to play off the ball? I thought the Rockets liked 3-point shooters? Do they not know that Westbrook can’t shoot? Are they going to encourage Westbrook to keep shooting? Is their a plan for these two getting torched on defense? There are a million other similar questions I can ask. This won’t work unless both players drastically change their style. With Mike D’Antoni still coaching the team, this Rockets team is a hot mess.

Some people are really smart. So smart that they are actually dumb. Daryl Morey perfectly fit that description. He knew Chris Paul and James Harden was a gamble both on and off the floor. He paid Chris Paul anyway despite the chemistry, injury, and zero Finals appearances. He knew Chris Paul wouldn’t age well and got him in the mess he’s in. That led to the Westbrook trade that reeks of desperation. This team is screwed. Morey sold his soul to the devil with this trade. Westbrook picked up the biggest cancer in league history. It was also his only option to get rid of Chris Paul. At the end of the day, it’s another gamble. A gamble that won’t work.

What’s the over / under for when Harden demands Westbrook traded? Is it 4 months from now? We have seen what a team centered around Westbrook is. It’s 3 straight first round exits along with a cast of stars who want out and play better without him. In a tough Western Conference, this team might get spit out and chewed up regardless of whether they play nice together or not. Right now both Harden and Westbrook are known for one thing in the playoffs… Melting when the stage gets brighter. What’s that smell? It’s coming from Houston and it reeks of desperation.

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