How Russell Westbrook Asked for Trade Right After Damian Lillard Hit 35-Foot Three to Send OKC Home; Did it in Secret Because He Had Preached Loyalty to Thunder Fans (Video)

Russell Westbrook is a Houston Rocket after Thursday night’s blockbuster trade.

The 2017 NBA MVP was dealt in exchange for Chris Paul, two future first-round picks (2024 and 2026) and a pair of pick swaps (2021 and 2025).  According to the Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen, Westbrook had his eyes on a potential trade long before Paul George forced his way to LA to join forces with Kawhi Leonard.

Westbrook met with the Thunder front office this week to say he would welcome a trade following Paul George’s departure to the Clippers. But an individual with knowledge of the talks said Westbrook initially broached the subject after OKC’s season ended with a first-round loss to the Portland Trail Blazers.

After inking a five-year, $206.8 million extension with OKC in 2017, ESPN’s Royce Young notes how loyalty was the deciding factor for Westbrook when making his decision.

“There’s nowhere else I would rather be than Oklahoma City. You guys have basically raised me. I’ve been here since I was 18, 19 years old. You guys did nothing but great things for me. Through the good and the bad, you guys supported me through it all, and I appreciate it. Definitely when I had the opportunity to be able to be loyal to you guys, that’s the No. 1 option. “Loyalty is something that I stand by.”

Westbrook spent the first 11 years of his career in a Thunder uniform after being taken fourth overall in the 2008 NBA Draft. The Thunder valiantly but unsuccessfully rebooted a post-Kevin Durant era, having experienced back-to-back first round exits in the last two seasons. Westbrook is owed $124.1 million over the next three seasons and holds a $47.1 million player option for the 2022-23 season.

Flip the page for a breakdown of how Westbrook will fit in and impact the Rockets.