Rockets GM Daryl Morey admits he never thought Russell Westbrook would be available
General manager Daryl Morey and the Houston Rockets are leaving the NBA’s offseason and free agency in the rear view mirror — and they might have made the biggest trade during the fervent summer.
Houston sent 34-year-old point guard Chris Paul and draft picks to the Oklahoma City Thunder for star point guard and former league MVP Russell Westbrook. Houston snatched the perennial triple-double threat from the now-rebuilding OKC and reunited him with his former Thunder teammate James Harden.
Morey, however, didn’t see the trade coming despite orchestrating the deal amidst the frenzy of the NBA’s Summer League in Las Vegas, Nevada.
“I never thought Russell Westbrook would become available,” the 46-year-old lead executive for the Rockets said on The Dan Patrick Show on Monday.
Morey, known to be a wheeling-and-dealing GM, jumped at the chance to move Chris Paul and team James Harden back up with Russell Westbrook. The two guards played alongside Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka in the OKC team that reached the 2012 NBA Finals.
Westbrook became available in trade talks after Thunder GM Sam Presti sent Paul George to the Los Angeles Clippers. Next, Presti traded solid rotation piece in 25-year-old Jerami Grant to the Denver Nuggets for a first-round pick, setting the runaway for the massive goodbye to the 11-year OKC vet in Westbrook.
Westbrook is signed through the 2021-22 season with a player option in 2022-23.
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