The Rockets believe Russell Westbrook‘s talents will overcome what could be an awkward fit alongside James Harden in their backcourt, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Houston and Oklahoma City agreed to terms on this offseason’s latest blockbuster Thursday night, swapping the spectacular but inefficient Westbrook for steady veteran Chris Paul.
Westbrook is only two years removed from an MVP season, but his explosiveness doesn’t always make up for poor perimeter shooting and questionable decisions in the open court. He has shot below 30% from 3-point range in four of the past five seasons and is joining a team that relies on the long ball more than anyone in league history. However, Rockets officials are confident that he can reach the 33% to 35% range because he’ll be surrounded by shooters who’ll spread the floor and will be playing with an elite passer in Harden.
Feigen adds that Harden has reportedly agreed to play off the ball more often to help Westbrook succeed. Harden will continue to operate as the point guard in many possessions, but Westbrook will also be allowed to run the offense, similar to their relationship in Oklahoma City.
There’s more tonight out of Texas:
- Rockets center Isaiah Hartenstein has agreed to extend his guarantee date beyond Monday, tweets Kelly Iko of The Athletic. July 15 was the original deadline for his $1,416,852 deal for next season to become fully guaranteed.
- Seth Curry said in a radio interview this week (transcribed by The Dallas Morning News) that familiarity and his respect for coach Rick Carlisle were factors in his decision to return to the Mavericks. Curry signed a four-year deal this week that brings him back to Dallas after two years away. “I played some of my best basketball when I was there a couple of years ago, so I’m excited to rejoin the team and help get them back to the playoffs,” Curry said. “… I wanted to get back to playing with guys like Luka (Doncic) and (Kristaps Porzingis). Unselfish guys. Luka’s one of the best passers in the league right now. … I’m excited about the opportunity.”
- DeMarre Carroll talked with the Bucks before joining the Spurs, but Milwaukee’s cap situation limited what the team could offer, relays Jabari Young of The Athletic. Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer, a former assistant in San Antonio, highly recommended the organization to Carroll, as did Nets GM Sean Marks, a former Spurs executive.