Clyde Drexler opens up on decision to force trade to Rockets

Houston Rockets Clyde Drexler (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Cisco Systems, Inc.)
Houston Rockets Clyde Drexler (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Cisco Systems, Inc.) /

NBA all-time great Clyde Drexler recently explained his decision to force a trade from the Portland Trail Blazers to the Houston Rockets.

Before Clyde Drexler joined the Houston Rockets, he had already immersed himself as one of the greatest players in NBA history. Drexler led the Portland Trail Blazers to the NBA Finals twice and was named to eight All-Star teams during his time in Portland.

Drexler received MVP consideration during the 1987-88 season and was an MVP finalist during the 1991-92 season, finishing as the runner-up to only Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan. Drexler was also named to three consecutive All-NBA teams and finished within the top-five in scoring on three different occasions, during his tenure in the Rip City.

But for all the success Drexler had with the Blazers, he realized there was more to be had, as he was missing an NBA title from his resume. Drexler ultimately demanded a trade, forcing then Blazers general manager Bob Whitsitt to deal him.

Drexler explains decision to force trade to the Houston Rockets

As we now know, this resulted in Drexler being dealt to the Houston Rockets, who sent the Blazers Otis Thorpe, Marcelo Nicola, and their first round pick in the 1995 NBA Draft (which was used on Randolph Childress) to the Blazers. Drexler recently opened up on his decision to part ways with the Blazers, in spite of the unsurmountable success he had with the franchise.

“The only reason why I left Portland is because they were starting to rebuild. After all of those great years, I had some injuries on my knee, and they kind of gave up a little bit too soon.

And so they started rebuilding, and they gave up Kevin Duckworth, and I was like ‘Hold up guys, we don’t have a center.’ And then they started saying, ‘We need to rebuild. We need to trade some of these veterans, while they can still play, so we can get something for them.

And that’s when I orchestrated the trade to Houston. But if they had not done that, I would’ve finished my career there.”

NBA legend Clyde Drexler wanted to finish his career with the Portland Trail Blazers. However, on "The Posecast," he explained what went wrong in Portland and why he ultimately orchestrated a trade to the Houston Rockets:

— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) October 31, 2020

Related Story. Clyde Drexler: "Neither LeBron nor MJ are the G.O.A.T."

Drexler’s decision to force the trade ultimately paired him with one of the greatest players in NBA history, in Hakeem Olajuwon, and it culminated in his first ever NBA title, which was the Rockets’ 1994-95 championship.

Drexler played four seasons in the Space City, and made the All-Star team in two of those seasons. Drexler stepped up big during the 1995 NBA Finals, as he posted averages of 21.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 6.8 assists, with the latter being a team-best.

Although Drexler spent a short amount of time with the Houston Rockets, he left his mark on the Rockets’ record books, as outlined below:

  • 1st in steals per game
  • 4th in triple-doubles
  • 7th in minutes per game
  • 9th in Player Efficiency Rating
  • 9th in assists per game
  • 10th in points per game

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Drexler’s decision to force the trade to the Rockets proved to be a beneficial one, as the Rockets simply wouldn’t have won the 1995 NBA title without him.