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After Paul George’s trade to the Los Angeles Clippers, Westbrook and Foucher worked with the Thunder to find an agreeable path forward on Westbrook’s future with the franchise. With free agency effectively concluded, and Westbrook’s list of preferred destinations extremely short, the timing made trade negotiations complicated.
Ramona Shelburne: The Thunder was focused first on doing right by Russell Westbrook in this trade, sources said. He preferred Houston, a source said. Now they’ll turn their attention to Chris Paul and what he wants. Remember, CP3 began his career in OKC (relocated from NOLA briefly)
Tim MacMahon: 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.
Bobby Marks: Russell Westbrook has a 15% trade bonus that will be voided. The $38.5M salary this season exceeds the max for a player with 10+ years of service.
Mark Berman: #Rockets owner @Tilman Fertitta confirms his team has traded Chris Paul to OKC for Russell Westbrook. @Adrian Wojnarowski reported first.
Adrian Wojnarowski: 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: 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.
Yossi Gozlan: Thunder’s draft chest now includes (aside from their own): 2020 Nuggets (top 10 protected) 2021 Heat 2021 Rockets (swap) 2022 Clippers 2023 Clippers (swap) 2023 Heat (lottery protected) 2024 Clippers 2024 Rockets 2025 Clippers (swap) 2025 Rockets (swap) 2026 Rockets 2026 Clippers
Anthony Chiang: Chris Paul’s contract expires one season earlier than Russell Westbrook’s deal. And the Thunder added to its pile of draft picks.
Adrian Wojnarowski: The Oklahoma City Thunder have agreed to trade Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets for Chris Paul, first-round picks in 2024 and 2026, pick swaps in 2021 and 2025, league sources tell ESPN.
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January 21, 2021 | 12:06 pm EST Update
Duane Rankin: Memphis next 3 games – 1-22 at Blazers 1-24/25 vs. Kings – have been postponed in accordance with #NBA health/safety protocols. They’re being postponed due to unavailable players for Grizzlies, contact tracing for other players on roster and to ensure health/safety of both teams
Adrian Wojnarowski: The NBA is erring on the side of caution with what still appears to be isolated COVID-19 exposure within the Grizzlies, sources tell ESPN. These postponements aren’t a result of several individuals being placed into the league’s Health and Safety protocol.
Chris Herrington: Per league source, the Grizzlies have one (and only one) active positive case. The rest of this postponement is due to contact tracing/caution. My sense is it’s another reflection of the league further tightening its protocols.
January 21, 2021 | 10:39 am EST Update
While the Nets starters tired and Harden, Irving and Durant played the final 18:45 together, Brooklyn’s best on-ball defender, Bruce Brown, sat on the bench. Brown’s 6-2 frame made for an ideal matchup to potentially cool down Sexton, who is 6-1, but after seeing the reserves struggle in the second quarter, Nash elected to tighten his rotations and play just nine all game. After the game, Brooklyn’s stars said Sexton hit a lot of difficult shots on them and his performance isn’t a total reflection of the defense. “He made some tough shots,” Harden said. “And if he missed those shots, is it good defense? No, he made some tough shots, everybody’s tired at that point, and I think we did enough, especially in the fourth quarter and first overtime. I don’t know how many points he had in that second overtime, but I think he had the majority of them. Chalk your hat up to him.”
Irving said his time in Cleveland with LeBron James and Kevin Love taught him that resolve, compromise and sacrifice was necessary for the Cavaliers to win at a high level. Irving thinks the same can happen in Brooklyn with his new star-studded team. Like his last one, it isn’t going to happen immediately. “We’ll have good nights, we’ll have great nights, but it’s how we galvanize as a group together,” Irving said. “It’s how we sacrifice and compromise for the greater good. And that still remains to be seen. Obviously, one game is out of the way, but I’m excited for what’s to come.”
His teammates have noticed a difference in him, too. Osman has noted the advancements in Sexton’s game from his rookie year to now. Sexton is competitive on the defensive end of the floor, he’s making the extra pass and his assists this season are up to 3.7 per game. “Obviously, last year he was better, and this year he’s even better,” Osman said. “He made like 14 or 15 points in a row, and then there was good defense on him, but then he found TP (new Cavalier Taurean Prince) in the corner for a 3-point shot that was wide open. That was a beautiful play from Collin. He could have taken that one too but saw TP was open, and that was the right play, so he made the right play. You can see from his first year until now — he’s just getting better every day.”