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Rockets GM Daryl Morey claims James Harden wanted to trade for Russell Westbrook without trading Chris Paul

Daryl Morey, James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul

When the Houston Rockets announced that they had successfully acquired the services of former MVP Russell Westbrook from the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for veteran point guard Chris Paul and draft picks, rumors instantly began circling about James Harden’s involvement in the said deal.

There were stories that talked about Harden and Paul’s unsavory relationship, with some outlets even saying that the former may have pushed for the latter’s exit. Rockets general manager Daryl Morey has shed some light into this nasty rumor, contextually denying it. As a matter of fact, Morey says that while Harden did hold a desire to bring Westbrook to Houston, Harden wanted to do so without having to trade away Paul:

What can you share, if anything, about the part James played and how that unfolded? How much teamwork was there between the two of you here?

Yeah, a lot of teamwork. I mean, with James at a high (communication) level, and obviously he felt like (Westbrook) could be a good fit here. He was curious if there was a way to do it where we could keep everyone and not have to give up anything (laughs). Unfortunately the math of the deal required Chris going out, unfortunately.

Just to make sure I’m hearing you there, James wanted to know if there was a way of doing it without losing Chris?

“Yeah, because I mean his mind is always (going) first to ‘How (can we be) completely stacked?’ So I had to sort of explain,” Morey said, via Sam Amick of The Athletic. “He gets it roughly, but obviously he leaves the details to us. Besides the high level (talks) where he thought that Russ would be a great fit here, there’s not a ton of interaction after that point. He knows there’s a back and forth, just like we respect what he does I think he respects what we do and he sort of leaves the execution to us.

I kept him appraised, because it felt like it was going to fall apart and back together a few times there. When I let him know it probably wasn’t going to happen, he was good. He understood. He said, ‘Hey, if there’s a way to make it happen, let’s do it,’ but he understands that you can’t just snap your fingers and make things happen in the NBA. No one is out there trying to help us. It’s always a dynamic when you’re trying to get the deal done. The good thing is we have a long relationship with him. And seven years in, he gets how it works and leaves it mostly to us to do our jobs once he gives the high level (feedback of) ‘Hey, I played with this guy. He’d be a good fit.”

It’s all water under the bridge now, though, and the new Harden-Westbrook partnership does appear to be quite a hit. The Rockets, currently 1-1 to start the season, are slated to face off against Chris Paul and the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday night in what should be a very interesting contest.

The post Rockets GM Daryl Morey claims James Harden wanted to trade for Russell Westbrook without trading Chris Paul appeared first on ClutchPoints.

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