Russell Westbrook is on the move once again. This time, he’s headed to the Eastern Conference for the first time to play with the Washington Wizards. On Dec. 2, the Houston Rockets traded Westbrook to the Wizards for John Wall. The Wizards also received a future lottery-protected first-round draft pick.
This is the second consecutive offseason that Westbrook has been traded, and he just made NBA history after being traded to the Wizards.
Russell Westbrook became a star playing with the Thunder
Westbrook spent his first 11 seasons playing for the Oklahoma City Thunder. During his time with the Thunder, he became an elite player and was one of the most exciting players to watch in the league. Westbrook continued to grow and mature into a dominant player after his rookie season. The Thunder had a talented young core group with Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and James Harden. His first two seasons were the only seasons where he didn’t average over 20 points per game.
Westbrook is the type of player who always plays at a high level, and the Thunder benefitted from having him on the team. The Thunder advanced to the 2012 NBA Finals during Westbrook’s third season and took on the heavily favored Miami Heat. Though the Thunder lost to the Heat 4-1, the Thunder gave it all they had. During the series, Westbrook averaged 27 points, 6.6 assists, and 6.4 rebounds. Westbrook quickly became a star in the league playing with the Thunder. He made eight All-Star teams with the Thunder and was selected to eight All-NBA teams.
In his final three seasons with the Thunder, he took his game to another level. He averaged his first triple-double of his career during the 2016-17 season. That season he averaged 31.6 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 10.4 assists. Westbrook was named NBA MVP that year, and he went on to averaged a triple-double the next two seasons. He became the first player in NBA history to average multiple triple-doubles.
Russell Westbrook reuniting with James Harden in Houston
After his time in Oklahoma City came to an end, Westbrook joined former Thunder teammate James Harden in Houston. With Westbrook and Harden back together, the Rockets were determined to make a strong push in the playoffs. In his first season with the Rockets, Westbrook put up impressive numbers, averaging 27.2 points, 7.9 rebounds, and seven assists through 57 games.
The Rockets went into the 2020 NBA playoffs as the No. 4 seed and took on the Thunder in the first round. It was a battle between the two teams, but the Rockets pulled away, winning in seven games. Houston took on the LA Lakers the next round and struggled against the Lakers. In that series, Westbrook averaged 19.8 points, 7.4 rebounds, and five assists. Westbrook averaged a career-low in points and assists during the 2020 playoffs.
Russell Westbrook became the first NBA MVP to be traded in consecutive offseasons
During the offseason, there were reports that Westbrook and Harden wanted out of Houston. That created a lot of buzz throughout the NBA, and many were waiting to see what the Rockets would do. The Rockets decided to keep Harden and let Westbrook go after one season. Now the Rockets have a new point guard in John Wall, while Westbrook will team up with Bradley Beal in Washington D.C.
Westbrook made NBA history, becoming the first NBA MVP to be traded in consecutive offseasons. It seems like Westbrook can’t find a consistent home after spending the majority of his career in Oklahoma City. Westbrook may be on the move again next year during the offseason, or he could stay with the Wizards for some time, who knows.
Stats Courtesy of Basketball Reference