We knew Russ wanted to rejoin Harden. Now, it seems the feeling was mutual.
The NBA offseason has provided its fans with endless drama and entertainment. The latest storyline basketball fans followed was the developing list of potential trade destinations for Russell Westbrook, who was seeking a trade off the Oklahoma City Thunder following the Kawhi/PG-13 melee of last weekend.
The proverbial book closed on Thursday, as the Houston Rockets acquired Westbrook in exchange for Chris Paul, future first-round picks, and two draft pick swaps. So what caused the Rockets to pull the trigger?
According to ESPN's Tim MacMahon, Rockets star James Harden was a "driving force" in the team trading for his former Thunder teammate. The Rockets front office agreed, believing they had a higher ceiling with Westbrook, as opposed to Chris Paul.
James Harden was a driving force in this deal, I’m told. Russell Westbrook and Harden decides they wanted to reunite and Rockets made it happen despite some questions about fit now that Harden is so ball dominant. Houston believes ceiling is higher with Russ than CP3.— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) July 12, 2019
The feeling was mutual with Westbrook, as NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the eight-time All-Star's preferred destination was Houston, and Thunder general manager Sam Presti facilitated the deal.
Houston has had a rough go of things in the playoffs in recent years. In fact, they failed to eliminate the Golden State Warriors in the past two years.
It will remain to be seen if Westbrook reuniting with Harden will change their luck. This offseason, the Western Conference saw an emergence of power duos, from LeBron James and Anthony Davis on the Los Angeles Lakers, to Kawhi Leonard and Paul George on the LA Clippers.
Both Russell Westbrook and James Harden have shown during their solo runs that the ball runs primarily through them. It will remain to be seen how the two will distribute the ball now that they're teammates on the Houston Rockets.
But they asked for this.