Report: James Harden was ‘driving force’ in Rockets trade for Russell Westbrook
Per Tim MacMahon of ESPN, the two wanted to reunite despite doubts on whether they can co-exist or not. The Rockets, meanwhile, believe that they can achieve more with Westbrook on their team rather than Chris Paul — whom they had for two seasons.
James Harden was a driving force in this deal, I’m told. Russell Westbrook and Harden decides they wanted to reunite and Rockets made it happen despite some questions about fit now that Harden is so ball dominant. Houston believes ceiling is higher with Russ than CP3.
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) July 12, 2019
To recall, back when they were on their way to becoming full-fledged NBA stars, Harden and Westbrook were teammates with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Westbrook was the team’s starting guard while Harden would come off the bench.
After they parted ways, the two still had a maintained a good bond. They both won one MVP trophy each. Along the way, they broke countless statistical records for points, rebounds, and assists. This fact alone is now being raised by several analysts. Can the two coexist given their high-usage rate and ball-dominant playstyle?
The Rockets, too, will end their two-year partnership with Paul — who found a way to synchronize his style with that of Harden. Various might have held the team’s potential. But with Harden and Paul on the team, the Rockets were once the favorites to oust the then-powerhouse squad of the Golden State Warriors.
However, after being booted out early in the 2019 NBA playoffs, rumors revealed that Harden and Paul were not seeing eye-to-eye.
This piece of information, coupled by Westbrook’s trade demand, paved the way for a reunion of the two former league MVPs.