Russell Westbrook, James Harden reunite in Houston; Chris Paul to OKC

Russell Westbrook, James Harden reunite in Houston; Chris Paul to Thunder
Photo credit Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Huge news out of the NBA. Russell Westbrook and James Harden are reuniting in Houston in a trade that also has Chris Paul on the move.

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Oklahoma City Thunder have agreed to trade Westbrook to the Rockets in exchange for Chris Paul, first-round picks in 2024 and 2026. Additionally, the teams will swap picks in 2021 and 2025, per Wojnarowski.

Reporting story with @royceyoung: Houston has reunited Russell Westbrook and James Harden. Story soon ESPN.

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 12, 2019

Thunder are playing a long-game unseen in recent NBA history: Seven additional first-round picks lined up through 2026 -- plus four pick swaps -- via deals for Paul George and Chris Paul.

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 12, 2019

Oklahoma City GM Sam Presti worked with Westbrook and his agent, Thad Foucher, to deliver the former MVP to his preferred destination: A reunion with James Harden, per sources.

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 12, 2019

I left out Thunder's Jerami Grant deal with Denver: OKC has acquired EIGHT first-round picks since draft night: 2020: Denver (1-10), 2021: Miami; 2022: LAC; 2023: Miami (1-14), 2024: LAC; 2024: Houston (1-14); 2026: LAC; 2026: Houston (1-4).

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 12, 2019

Need to factor in that with the recent trades, OKC will likely retain the 2020 first (top 20 protected to Philly) and 2022 first (top 14 protected to Atlanta).From 2020 to 2026: 15 first-round picks and the swap rights in 4 years.

— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) July 12, 2019

Westbrook and Harden played together, along with Kevin Durant, for three seasons in Oklahoma City, culminating with a trip to the NBA Finals in 2012, after which Harden was traded to Houston. The Thunder's only trip to the finals, they were eliminated in five games by the Miami Heat.

This continues a dramatic reshaping of the Western Conference, in a free agency period that's already seen Kawhi Leonard and Paul George join forces on the Clippers. George was traded by the Thunder last week, linking him with Leonard, who signed with the Clippers as a free agent.

Partner these moves with Anthony Davis joining LeBron James on the Lakers and it's anyone's guess who reigns dominant over the West in 2019-20 and beyond.
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