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USA TODAY Sports activities’ Jeff Zillgitt spoke with a variety of NBA coaches who’re nonetheless working out how precisely they’ll enforce the leagues new problem gadget.
USA TODAY

Russell Westbrook and James Harden are teammates once more — this time with the Houston Rockets.

And now the Rockets have the 2017 MVP (Westbrook) and 2018 MVP (Harden).

Oklahoma Town Thunder basic supervisor Sam Presti continues to reshape the group’s long term, sending Westbrook to the Rockets for Chris Paul and two first-round draft selections, an individual acquainted with the deal advised USA TODAY Sports activities.

The individual asked anonymity as a result of he was once no longer licensed to talk publicly till the deal is introduced via the groups.

Oklahoma Town prior to now week has moved rapid in the case of buying and selling All-Stars. First, it was once Paul George to the Los Angeles Clippers, and now it’s Westbrook to the Rockets, the place he’ll sign up for former Thunder teammate Harden.

After the Thunder traded George for 5 first-round around selections, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Danilo Gallinari, it changed into obvious Westbrook’s time in Oklahoma Town was once coming to an finish.

The 11-year veteran and eight-time All-Superstar didn’t need to be a part of a rebuild.

This deal re-energizes the Rockets, who misplaced to the Golden State Warriors within the playoffs the previous two seasons, together with the 2018 Western Convention finals.

Within the offseason, the Rockets watched different groups within the West, particularly the Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers, make stronger. And earlier than the Westbrook industry, the Rockets hadn’t made any strikes that moved the needle.

This one no doubt strikes the needle. Now the Rockets wish to give you the chance to make it paintings with Harden and Westbrook within the backcourt. Each avid gamers are other than they had been when the ultimate performed along with the Thunder in 2012.

Rockets trainer Mike D’Antoni, referred to as an offensive genius, has paintings in entrance of him to include two guards who love to have the ball and strive a minimum of 20 photographs consistent with recreation.

The Thunder talked with Westbrook after the George industry, and he was once amenable to a industry to a playoff group. The Miami Warmth, who simply got Jimmy Butler in unfastened company, had passion in buying and selling for Westbrook, however was once restricted via wage cap constraints.

Oklahoma Town has piled up draft selections and now 10 first-round selections in the course of the 2026 draft. It’s going to be an extended rebuild, and the Thunder wish to hit on a few of the ones selections. But when the Thunder rating on a few of them — like they did with Wesbrook, Harden and Kevin Durant — the Thunder are in place to have one of the most brightest long-term futures within the NBA.

Apply Jeff Zillgitt on Twitter @JeffZillgitt.

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