March 2, 2021

The Rockets fulfill Westbrook’s wish and transfer him to Washington for Wall

Russell Westbrook, in a match with the US national team.

Russell Westbrook, in a match with the US national team.

The Houston Rockets agreed on Wednesday to trade star point guard Russell Westbrook to the Washington Wizards in exchange for John Wall., according to several journalistic sources.

Both bases had already shown that they did not want to continue with their respective teams and had officially requested a transfer.

The Wizards, in addition to sending Wall, they will also give the Rockets a first-round draft pick of the NBA of 2023 protected by lottery.

If it is not carried out in that year, it has a succession of protections that include selections from number 1 to 12 in 2024; from 1 to 10 in 2025, and from 1 to 8 in 2026, the same sources said.

They add that if he does not make a first-round pick to Houston before 2026, he becomes a second-round pick that same year and in 2027.

They also indicated that there were difficult moments in the negotiations, as the discussions had stalled since mid-November, until the two general managers, Rafael Stone of the Rockets, and Tommy Sheppard of the Wizards, communicated directly by phone on the Tuesday afternoon.

According to sources, the two were able to reach an agreement in a matter of hours.

It also emerged that after the agreement both the Rockets and the Wizards expressed their hope that the trade would help convince the two star guards of each team, James Harden of the Rockets and Bradley Beal of Washington to stay long-term with their teams and remain the only franchise players.

Harden has privately requested a trade and Beal could become a free agent in 2021.

Westbrook and Wizards coach Scott Brooks have a long career together, spending seven years as a player and coach for the Oklahoma City Thunder, the team that selected him number four in the first round of the 2008 college draft. when the franchise was still the Seattle SuperSonics.

Westbrook’s association with Harden in Houston lasted only one season.

Westbrook and Harden informed the Rockets this offseason that they wanted to be transferred to other teams., specifically the Brooklyn Nets, in the case of Harden, where he wants to join his friends forward Kevin Durant and point guard Kyrie Irving.

Sources say Houston’s position on Harden has not changed, saying the Texan team expected to be competitive with the MVP candidate last season and does not foresee a scenario in which a trade will close.

Westbrook, 32, was selected as part of the NBA’s third team during his season with the Rockets, averaging 27.2 points; 7.9 rebounds and 7.0 assists per game.

Westbrook’s season began to deteriorate after he was late to the NBA’s Walt Disney World “bubble” because he had contracted the coronavirus and injured his right quadriceps.

The injury caused him to miss the first four games of the first-round playoff series against the Thunder, his former team, which they eliminated. Upon his return he averaged 17.9 points and 4.6 assists, making 42.1 percent of his field goals.

Westbrook has $ 133 million outstanding in three remaining seasons on his contract., with a player option for the final year. He has been an All-Star in nine of the last 10 seasons and joined the legendary Oscar Robertson as the only players to average a triple-double during the season, doing so in his last three seasons with the Thunder.

While, Wall, 30, always involved in controversy both on and off the field, has not played since December 26, 2018 and he missed two seasons with Achilles tendon and knee injuries. They still owe him three years and $ 132 million on his contract.


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