The Thunder traded 2017 MVP Russell Westbrook to the Rockets for Chris Paul.

By Khadrice Rollins
July 11, 2019

The entire world was shocked Thursday when the Thunder pulled the trigger to fully jump into their rebuild effort by trading Russell Westbrook to the Rockets for Chris Paul and picks.

Tim MacMahon of ESPN reports James Harden was "a driving force" in getting Westbrook to the Rockets.

At the end of the season, reports surfaced about possible friction between Harden and Paul. The duo reportedly got into a verbal altercation following the team's season-ending loss at home in Game 6 of the second round of the playoffs to the Warriors. Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo! Sports reported their relationship was "unsalvagable."

Paul denied the rumors and also said he didn't ask to be traded from Houston. General manager Daryl Morey said earlier in the offseason that Paul wouldn't be traded. P.J. Tucker said Harden and Paul could work out any potential problems and all that mattered was competing for a championship, comparing the tension between the two stars to Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant.

The Rockets now have two MVPs in their backcourt as they look to get back to the Western Conference finals and possibly capture the team's first championship since 1994-95.

Royce Young of ESPN reports Houston was Westbrook's preferred destination and other teams like the Heat were only lightly considered.

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