In a move that may be the precursor to disgruntled former MVP guard James Harden being dealt out of Houston, the Rockets traded his backcourt teammate Russell Westbrook to the Washington Wizards for John Wall and a protected first-round draft pick.
Westbrook, the 2017 NBA MVP and a nine-time All-Star, played just one season in Houston after being dealt to the Rockets in July of 2019 for Chris Paul and draft picks.
Wall, a former No. 1 overall draft pick, has played his entire career in Washington but has missed the majority of the past two seasons due to injuries, including a ruptured Achilles tendon.
“Having the opportunity to acquire a player of Russell’s caliber and character was something that we could not pass up when looking at both the immediate and long-term future of our team,” Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard said in a release. “With that said, the decision to part ways with John, one of the greatest players in franchise history, was extremely difficult. What he has meant to our organization and our community is immeasurable and will not be forgotten.”
Wall, 30, is entering the second year of a four-year, $171 million deal, while Westbrook, 32, is entering the third year of a five-year, $206 million contract.
NBA training camps opened this week, so the two All-Star guards will not have much time to adjust to their new respective teams before the season tips off just before Christmas.
Now that Westbrook is gone and the team seems to be entering a rebuild, the Rockets will also be looking to trade Harden out of town for young players and future draft picks.