After spending 11 years with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Russell Westbrook is ready to move on and continue his career as a member of the Houston Rockets, as he was officially introduced Friday afternoon, alongside general manager Daryl Morey. Both Westbrook and Morey made it clear that their desire to win a championship is the most exciting part of their new partnership. Westbrook said:
“Just having an opportunity to win a championship is what’s most exciting. We have a great organization here with a great group of guys, office staff, and great coaching as well. I think this is a great opportunity to win a championship, do some great things, and have some fun here in Houston.”
In joining the Rockets, Westbrook will reunite with his friend and former Thunder teammate, James Harden. While having another opportunity to play alongside Harden, Westbrook called the trade another great chapter in his life and is delighted to rekindle an old flame from Oklahoma City.
However, many have not shared the same level of excitement. Critics question how two ball-dominant guards will coexist on the court. Despite the many questions, Westbrook says making adjustments to his game to coexist next to Harden will not be a big challenge heading into next season.
“We play great off the ball with each other. We’ve done it in Oklahoma City. There were many times in Oklahoma City when James closed the game as the primary ball-handler and I played off the ball, which is totally fine for me. Like I said before, offensively and scoring are not the only thing I can do for the game.”
In addition to playing alongside Harden, Westbrook says past battles with the Rockets have him just as excited to team up with the rest of his new teammates in Houston.
“I know the guys really well and I know their personnel very well, and they are tough. The guys here complement the game and do a lot of great things on the court together, and I am just here to help those guys out.”
The 2017 MVP was acquired in a trade for Chris Paul, two future first-round picks, and the rights to two first-round swaps to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Last season was another productive year for Westbrook, as he averaged a triple-double for the third time in his career, becoming the first in NBA history to achieve such a feat.
They’ll be more quotes coming from the Westbrook press conference, where TDS had boots on the ground.