The Houston Rockets have been one of the most turbulent teams in the NBA in the last few seasons. They have gone from Dwight Howard - James Harden to Chris Paul - James Harden to Russell Westbrook - James Harden.
Three reasons why the Russell Westbrook-Chris Paul trade did not work out for the Houston Rockets
The Houston Rockets experimented with a small-ball lineup last season, with 6' 7" PJ Tucker manning the center position.
They traded former MVP Russel Westbrook and parted ways with Chris Paul after only two seasons with the franchise. However, the trade did not work out to expectations.
Here, we take a look at three reasons why the Westbrook-CP3 trade was a terrible one for the Houston Rockets.
3) Russel Westbrook struggled to strike up a chemistry with James Harden at the Houston Rockets
The Houston Rockets traded for Russel Westbrook because the player is three years younger than Chris Paul, and the franchise thought that his arrival could bolster their championship hopes.
However, Russel Westbrook started the season coming off a surgery and needed a lot of time to get going. Westbrook struggled from the 3 point range, and it took him some time to get back into rhythm while playing with James Harden.
At times, it seemed that the two superstars had great chemistry going, but both being ball-dominant players, the pair struggled without the ball, and that had an impact on the team's performances.
Recent reports suggest that Russell Westbrook has demanded a trade from the Houston Rockets and plans to leave the team this off-season.
2) Chris Paul has gone on to flourish at OKC
Chris Paul returned to his Point God form at Oklahoma City Thunder and proved to the NBA that his previous season with the Houston Rockets was not the start of his decline.
Combined with the perfect pick-and-roll partner in Steven Adams, Paul orchestrated the team's offense and led the team defensively.
Chris Paul was pivotal in the development of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander as a young guard and was a major reason why a shooting big man like Danilo Gallinari put up big numbers last season. Dennis Schröder flourished under the leadership of Chris Paul and provided consistent scoring off the bench.
Chris Paul, who is considered to be one of the best leaders in the league, led his team to the NBA playoffs last season. However, in the first round, the Thunder lost to the Houston Rockets in a close-fought seven-game series.
1) The Houston Rockets lost all their future draft picks
The Houston Rockets couldn't get a straight swap for Chris Paul, and they had to trade away their 2024 and 2026 first-round picks as well as pick-swaps in 2021 and 2025. All this for a player who lasted one season without making any major improvement to the roster has proved to be detrimental for the Houston Rockets.
It also means that the Houston Rockets have very little trade assets left to surround James Harden with the players he needs. Moreover, they have to move Russell Westbrook's gargantuan contract, with the player's value diminishing over the year.
The Chris Paul - Russell Westbrook trade has put the Houston Rockets in a bind, and the only way they could get out of it is to trade way James Harden and start a rebuild. However, the franchise has expressed no desire to trade away Harden. Moreover, the player himself seems to be committed to the franchise.
In such a scenario, the only way forward for the Houston Rockets could be to try and bring in a few pieces and hope that the team rallies around James Harden.Published 16 Nov 2020, 18:00 IST