The Thunder traded 2017 MVP Russell Westbrook to the Rockets for Chris Paul.
Tim MacMahon of ESPN reports James Harden was "a driving force" in getting Westbrook to the Rockets.
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
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.