The real reason Rockets traded Chris Paul for Russell Westbrook has finally been revealed
The real reason the Houston Rockets traded Chris Paul to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Russell Westbrook is because owner Tilman Fertitta thought Paul’s contract “was the worst he’d ever seen in business or sports,” according to Tim MacMahon of ESPN.
In September of 2017, Fertitta reached an agreement to buy the Rockets for $2.2 billion from Leslie Alexander, who reportedly promised Paul he would give him the money he wanted in 2018, basically putting Fertitta in a tough spot.
According to @espn_macmahon on the Chris Paul/Russell Westbrook trade;
“That trade was made because Tilman Fertitta (Rockets Owner) wanted it made. He thought Chris Paul’s contract was the worst he’d ever seen in business or sports.” pic.twitter.com/tXvu9GBLKR
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) October 16, 2020
Chris Paul and the Rockets lost to the Golden State Warriors in the second round of the 2019 playoffs after taking the Dubs to seven games in the 2018 Western Conference Finals. Tilman Fertitta and Daryl Morey traded Paul to the Thunder for Russell Westbrook in the summer of 2019 since the latter is essentially best friends with Rockets superstar James Harden.
However, like Paul, Westbrook has a terrible contract as well. The former MVP made $38,506,482 in 2019-20 and he’s set to earn $41,358,814 in 2020-21, $44,211,146 in 2021-22 and has a player option worth $47,063,478 for the 2022-23 campaign.
Paul, meanwhile, made $35,654,150 from the Rockets in 2018-19 and $38,506,482 this season from the Thunder. The future Hall of Famer is owed $41,358,814 in 2020-21 and he has a player option worth $44,211,146 for 2021-22.
Westbrook averaged 27.2 points, 7.9 rebounds and 7.0 assists per game in his first season with the Rockets. Those are MVP-type numbers, so Houston couldn’t have had an issue paying him $38,506,482.
Unfortunately, Westbrook contracted COVID-19 and had an injury he played through in the 2020 playoffs, which severely impacted his production and played a big role in the Rockets’ second-round loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in five games.