3 reasons why the Rockets lost the Russell Westbrook trade
By Kurt Olson
2. Westbrook didn’t last more than one year for the Houston Rockets
Another of the most significant reasons for the trade was the age of the two players. With Chris Paul being roughly three years older than Westbrook, it was believed that Westbrook expanded the Rockets’ window due to having him in his prime longer than Paul.
The Rockets clearly saw Paul’s 2018-19 season as the start of a decline, and his age was likely the primary suspect. At the time, they thought that getting Westbrook would keep another star in his prime beside Harden for a few years longer.
Now that Westbrook will almost certainly be traded before the start of the 2020-21 season, this potential advantage is entirely gone.
Before the reports of a trade request, there was still an argument to be made that this was only what year one looked like and that it still remains to be seen where Westbrook and Paul are as players over the next few years. Perhaps the upcoming season will see Westbrook retain the majority of his prime while Paul sees the first year of a permanent decline.
In a world where Westbrook stayed on the Rockets for the entire length of his contract, the Rockets could potentially have looked better on their end of the trade by the time it was in its latter half. But regardless of how Westbrook and Paul look in the next few years, it does not matter for the Rockets anyway.
Because one year is the only sample size that the Rockets will have for this trade, all of its future implications are now irrelevant. In the one season that the Houston Rockets had Westbrook, they advanced no further in the playoffs than the previous season and did not even come within arms-reach of a championship.
Next: No. 1