Trading for Russell Westbrook and pairing him with James Harden gives the Houston Rockets the "best backcourt in basketball"
, says NBA TV analyst Kenny Smith. Russell Westbrook traded to Houston Rockets for Chris Paul. The Oklahoma City Thunder traded Westbrook to the Rockets for veteran All-Star guard Chris Paul and a pair of first-round draft picks, according to multiple media outlets. The move reunites Westbrook and Harden who played together in Oklahoma City between 2009 and 2012. Alongside Kevin
Durant, the pair helped the Thunder reach the 2012 NBA Finals where they were beaten by the Miami Heat. Which players have moved where in NBA free agency? Speaking on NBA Gametime, TV analyst - and former Houston Rockets guard - Kenny Smith said the Westbrook-Harden pairing is the "best backcourt in basketball". "You are talking about two of the last three [league] MVPs. It's incredible to have that type of talent on one team," he said. "You look at what the Lakers and Clippers have done, it's like [the Thunder have said to the rest of the Western Conference], can you stop our two guys now? Those two guys [Harden and Westbrook] have never been stopped in their careers.
Watch James Harden's best clutch plays from the 2018-19 NBA season "Now they are back together, that is an unbelievable backcourt. They played together before [in Oklahoma City] so they know how to get it done. They are the best backcourt in basketball.
More on this story Westbrook traded to Rockets for Paul. NBA free agency and trade tracker
"Houston have been an offensive juggernaut for the last few years. The difference now is Russ could point to half of the league or more and say 'I can guard him'. In past with Houston, I don't their guys could say 'we'll outscore you and stop you'."The trade marks the end of Westbrook's 11-year tenure in Oklahoma City Thunder. He was named regular season MVP for the 2016-17 season and has averaged a triple-double in each of his past three NBA seasons. However, since Kevin Durant's departure from Oklahoma City in 2016, Westbrook has failed to lead the Thunder beyond the opening round of the playoffs.
Erik Horne, who reports on the Thunder for The Oklahoman, told NBA Gametime Westbrook leaves Oklahoma City as "the greatest player in franchise history". Russell Westbrook extended his triple-double streak to 11 games with 44 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists against the New Orleans Pelicans "When Kevin Durant was here, Westbrook was almost looked at like the fall guy while 'KD' was seen as the guy who could do no wrong," Horne said. "It was tough for him to come into the league and take the criticism he initially had when he was playing next to an otherworldly talent.
"Efficiency was never Russell Westbrook's game, but the strides he has made in the last 11 years cannot go unstated. The guy is a Hall of Fame player and he has propped up this franchise when Durant left. If not for Westbrook, there is no telling where the franchise would be now. Want the latest NBA news, features and highlights on your phone? Find out more
"The thoughts about Russell Westbrook have shifted since he came to Oklahoma City. He started out as the 'second banana' and is now considered the greatest player in franchise history because he stuck with the Thunder when they lost their supposed 'top gun' and he endeared himself to a community and a state by being a guy who didn't 'bounce' or break when things got difficult."