Daryl Morey explains the reason behind the Rockets’ Russell Westbrook trade
When the Houston Rockets traded star guard Chris Paul for Russell Westbrook over the summer, basketball fans all over the world raised their eyebrows at the seemingly questionable transaction. However, for general manager Daryl Morey, acquiring Westbrook was the “right move.”
Speaking on “The Lowe Post,” Morey explained what their headspace was like entering the 2019 offseason. While the Rockets GM acknowledged that Chris Paul and James Harden were great as a duo, he believes that Westbrook is the player that would turn them into a title contender.
“We just felt like you can’t win unless you’ve got a peak level that’s very high,” Morey told Lowe, as transcribed by Larry Brown Sports. “And we thought with Chris (Paul) and James (Harden) we were an extremely good team, and in fact in 2018, you could argue the best team. I think Golden State, to be fair, was probably the best (in 2018), but we were right there with them.
“And we felt like the team we had with Chris and James was extremely good but was going to come up short of the title. And we thought that adding Russ, who unquestionably has this peak level of play that not many guys have reached, was the right move.”
With the playoffs around the corner, the Rockets currently sport a 40-24 record for sixth in the Western Conference standings. James Harden is currently averaging 34.3 points, 6.4 rebounds and 7.4 assists, while Russell Westbrook is putting up 27.5 markers, 8.1 boards and 7.0 assists.
While the Rockets are likely headed to the playoffs, there are still a lot of questions that can only be answered in the postseason. After all, there are plenty of questions about their lineup after trading Clint Capela and going all-in to the small ball trend.
Can they still be considered title contenders as Daryl Morey thought they would be? Or will the Rockets have something else tucked in their sleeves once the postseason begins?