Russ Westbrook-CP3 Trade

This league. This bleeping league.

Jim Rome
July 12, 2019 - 9:38 am
Russell Westbrook and CP3

USA Today

Categories: 

This league. This bleeping league.

And when I say “this league” you don’t even need me to say which one, because you already know.

When Howard Beck was on the show yesterday, he said that he’d never seen an NBA offseason like this one. And it’s almost like Daryl Morey and Sam Presti took that as a challenge. It’s almost like they heard Beck and said, “hey ya’ll, watch this!”

Because a few hours later, it broke that those two had agreed to a deal to send Russell Westbrook to Houston for Chris Paul, first-round picks in 2024 and 2026 and pick swaps in 2021 and 2025.

Holy crap. Holllly crap.

Yet another superstar on the move. Six of the 15 guys who made an All-NBA team in May are on different teams now. And that doesn’t include Chris Paul. Or Anthony Davis.

Speaking of Anthony Davis, remember when he was traded? Feels like an eternity ago, right? It wasn’t even a month ago. That’s how much bleep has gone down since then.

The NBA offseason is completely insane. And there is nothing more NBA Offseason than Russ Westbrook being traded on the same night that he’s hosting a comedy pop-up show in Tulsa.

So what’s my initial reaction to the trade? Pick my jaw up off the floor and start applauding. Daryl Morey is an absolute legend. I don’t know how this trade will ultimately work out, but I know this – Daryl Morey is not afraid. In fact, he’s got a big brass set. And things will never be boring with Daryl around.

In terms of the trade, they’re definitely, but are they better? And if so how much better?  Championship better? At this point, what are they getting in a 30-something Russell Westbrook? Fact is, this isn’t even as much about wanting Russell Westbrook as it is about wanting to get Chris Paul the hell out of town. I mean, how badly did they want to ditch Paul that they moved him for a guy who has an ever longer contract, is on the wrong side of 30, isn’t what he used to be, can’t shoot a three, and may or may not even fit with Harden. And threw in a boatload picks to make it happen, when there really was no market for Westbrook at all.

So why did Daryl Morey, one of the smartest guys ever, give up that much for Westbrook? Because he wasn’t giving up that much to get Westbrook, he did it to get rid of Chris Paul. Because as much as Morey said there weren’t problems between Paul and Harden, there obviously were. There were problems between Paul and Harden just like there were problems between Paul and Blake Griffin.  Just like there will be problems between Paul and his new OKC teammates. Or in Miami with Jimmy Butler when he ultimately ends up there. Obviously, Houston wasn’t big enough for CP3 and Harden and if one of them had to go, it sure as hell wasn’t going to be the Beard. Happy trails, Chris. Just don’t get too comfortable in OKC because you’re probably not staying. You can take what’s left of your talents to South Beach. Just get on the wrong side of Jimmy Butler, because you know buckets ain’t having it.

Now back to this issue of fit with Harden and Westbrook: sure, Harden and Russ like each other. And yes, they have played together back in the day. But just because it worked way back then, doesn’t mean it’s going to work now. They’re both different dudes and different players than they were back when Harden was coming off the bench for the Thunder. And just because they like each other doesn’t mean their games will mesh. They might not. Especially, when you consider both guys love to dominate the rock, have extremely high usage rates and will be in the same backcourt. Don’t get it twisted; Chris Paul had to go; there was no way they could bring him back. But that doesn’t mean they’re better with Westbrook than they were Paul. Just different. This may not work. Of course, Daryl Morey is betting it will. Morey is doing what he always does: getting the best talent he can, regardless of fit. And just trusting that it will ultimately work out. That’s why he’s a legend; the dude is relentless, fearless, and will keep doing anything and everything he can to win a ring. I love it.

My only regret here is that he had to trade Westbrook and Paul for each other. As much as Paul and Harden couldn’t stand playing with each other, imagine how awesome it would have been to add Westbrook to that mix: three dudes, who have to dominate the ball, are extremely headstrong, and don’t want to guard anyone. With two of them are aging out and not what they used to be.  Imagine those three dudes in the same locker room and on the same bench. All trying to share the same basketball. That would have been the best thing ever. And if something seems too good to be true, it generally is. And as good as Morey is, he’s not that good.  I’m looking forward to see Russ do Russ things with the Rockets; I just would have liked it a helluva more if Paul was still there to piss the other two off.