Cap genius slams Rockets 'God awful move no one talks about'

ESPN's Bobby Marks slammed Houston for one less-discussed gaffe from their past.
James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Houston Rockets
James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Houston Rockets / Sean Gardner/GettyImages

In 2024, the Houston Rockets have as promising a future as any team in the NBA. With Alperen Sengun, Amen Thompson, Jabari Smith and plenty of other young talent roaming the halls, there is plenty of legitimate reason to be excited about what the future will bring.

Watching the transition the Rockets have made from the previous era to now has been interesting to say the least. Not a lot of teams could go from being a perennial Western Conference contender from the mid-to-late 2010s into a rebuild, and already have as promising a roster as Houston does right now.

But as with any journey, the Rockets' has not come without hiccups. Life is filled with mistakes and decisions we wish we could do over, and that does not exclude any NBA franchise. Recently, one of Houston's bigger gaffe's from recent history was brought to the forefront.

ESPN's NBA Front Office Insider, Bobby Marks, recently commented on the Rockets and gave a preview of what their offseason could look like, reviewing many of their draft picks in the process. In doing so, he recalled their 2019 trade for Russell Westbrook, and he did not hesitate in panning the move.

Bobby Marks called out the Rockets for the Russell Westbrook trade

Recalling the deal from five years ago wherein the Rockets traded away Chris Paul, two first-round draft picks, and two first-round pick swaps for Westbrook, Marks could not help but express his true feelings. "I mean, that Westbrook trade is a major disaster," he said. "Nobody ever writes about it, but that is a god-awful trade. When you look at the ramifications of what happened, for basically one year, that is some major collateral damage."

In several ways, Marks is not totally off-base here. At the time, Houston had just come off two consecutive seasons of having James Harden and Chris Paul as their one-two punch. They had run into the Stephen Curry/Kevin Durant-led Warriors two postseasons in a row, falling in the Western Conference Finals and Semifinals in back-to-back years.

All things considered, they were still in a good position headed into the 2019-20 season. But due in part to the personal connection between Harden and Russ, the team opted to make a risky trade for the 2017 MVP. Obviously, they gave up a significant amount, and only ended up gaining the services of Westbrook for one season, in which they once again failed to reach the conference finals.

Since that trade, Chris Paul has unquestionably been the better player. He went to Oklahoma City and elevated what was widely considered a bad Thunder team to the playoffs, then went to mentor Devin Booker in Phoenix and took the Suns to the best record in the NBA two seasons later.

Sure, the Rockets are in a very good position now, and this is not to detract from that. But it can be easy to forget how much of a flop this move was, and Houston is lucky it did not end up handicapping them long-term.