Sun.Star Baguio

Rockets, Wiz make Westbrook-Wall deal


HOUSTON — Russell Westbrook is headed to the Washington Wizards and John Wall is moving to the Houston Rockets in a significan­t swap of point guards — one an MVP, the other a No. 1 overall draft pick — just weeks before the season starts.

The Wizards shipped a future lottery- protected first round pick to the Rockets on Wednesday night.

“Having the opportunit­y to acquire a player of Russell’s caliber and character was something that we could not pass up when looking at both the immediate and long- term future of our team,” Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard said in a release. “With that said, the decision to part ways with John, one of the greatest players in franchise history, was extremely difficult. What he has meant to our organizati­on and our community is immeasurab­le and will not be forgotten.”

While Wall has played his entire profession­al career in the nation’s capital, the move ends Westbrook’s tenure in Houston after just one disappoint­ing season. He arrived from Oklahoma City in July 2019 for Chris Paul and draft picks.

The Rockets had hoped that the 32-yearold Westbrook would be the final piece they needed to win their first title since winning back- to- back championsh­ips in 1994- 95. But instead, Houston was eliminated from the playoffs by the eventual champion Los Angeles Lakers in the Western semifinals. Westbrook was the 2017 NBA MVP and is a nine- time All- Star, but has failed to win a title.

Many questioned whether the pairing of two ball- dominant guards like Westbrook and James Harden would work in Houston, but the longtime friends insisted that it would. After the Rockets were sent home from the playoffs early again, rumors started to swirl that the two weren’t happy in Houston and both wanted out.

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