The Washington Wizards started December off with a bang. On Wednesday, Dec. 2, the Wizards acquired former MVP and nine-time all-star Russell Westbrook from the Houston Rockets.
The blockbuster trade sends former number one overall pick John Wall and a lottery-protected first round pick in the 2023 NBA Draft to Houston. Wall played his last game with the Wizards on Dec. 26, 2018, missing the last two seasons due to injuries. The point guard leaves the franchise as the team’s all-time leader in assists (5,282) and steals (976).
“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,” said Wizards General Manager Tommy Sheppard in a recent press 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.”
Westbrook comes to the Wizards after averaging 27.2 points (the third best of his career) and 7 assists per game last season. The addition of Westbrook to the backcourt, alongside Bradley Beal, gives the team one of the most competitive duos in the Eastern Conference.
The trade also rejoins the 12-year veteran and head Coach Scott Brooks; the two were previously together when Brooks was the head coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder from 2008-2015.
“Russell’s accomplishments and honors on the court speak for themselves, but his drive and will to win are what separate him as a truly unique player,” said Brooks in a press release.
Westbrook will make his debut with the Wizards during the team’s preseason game against the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday, Dec. 13 at 6 p.m. With a shortened preseason of only three games, the Wizards are scheduled to start its regular season play on Dec. 23 against the Philadelphia 76ers at 7 p.m. At the moment, fans will not be allowed to attend games at Capital One Arena.
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Photo by Ned Dishman (NBA Photos).