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Russell Westbrook Traded to the Houston Rockets For Chris Paul and Draft Picks

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All of the chatter surrounding Russell Westbrook had been that the former MVP was on his way to being traded to the Miami Heat.

The Heat were considered so much a favorite to land Westbrook, that there was even reports that indicated Russ on the Heat as an inevitability.

Well it turns out that deal was not an inevitable one, as Westbrook is on his way to Houston instead, where he will team up with an old friend.

The Rockets ended up using Chris Paul’s contract as a way to match up with the Thunder in a Westbrook trade and the massive draft capital they included put the deal over the top for Thunder GM Sam Presti.

Presti is now stockpiling assets, as his treasure trove of draft picks is getting rather deep.

Now the Thunder have 15 first round picks from 2020-2026, giving them an ample amount of chance to find their next star player in the draft. Those picks also have them the capital make any trade the want over the next five year.

The next trade may be for one of the pieces they just acquired, as Chris Paul could absolutely be on the move. If Paul is moved, the Thunder may not be done negotiating with the Heat after all.

Injury concerns aside, Paul may be a better fit for the Heat to play alongside Jimmy Butler anyway. Paul is a far superior three-point shooter, as a Westbrook-Butler backcourt would have been one of the worst three-point shooting units in the league.

There is also less pressure for Presti to receive assets in return for Paul, so the cap relief that Miami is offering may be enough to get a deal done.

Still, the headline here is the fact that Westbrook is once again teammates with James Harden, after Harden was traded from the Thunder to the Rockets back in 2012.

That duo does not necessarily make the most sense on paper, but the CP3-Harden backcourt was not aging very well anyway.

Now that they have two of the most ball-dominant guards in the league,
the Rockets may just play 48 minutes of iso, with Harden and Westbrook taking turns on offense.

Still, the fact that Harden and Westbrook wanted this, means that they may figure out a way to make it work.

Basketball

Three-Time NBA Champion Shaun Livingston Announces His Retirement

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Over the past five seasons, the Golden State Warriors have put together one of the greatest dynasties in NBA history, winning three championships and making five-straight appearances in the NBA Finals.

Now they are turning the page to a new era of Warriors basketball, still surrounded around their homegrown ‘Big Three’ of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green’.

But the role players from those great Warriors teams have moved on and for some, are calling it quits altogether. As Shaun Livingston just announced his retirement from the NBA.

In his farewell message, Livingston cites “the injury”, referring to a devastating knee injury that he suffered back in 2007.

The injury was so bad for Livingston, that it almost resulted in his leg being amputated it was so bad.

Livingston made a remarkable recovery from the injury and turned in a fantastic career. The last stages of his career came with the Golden State Warriors, were he proved to be an excellent backup point guard to Curry.

Without Livingston’s ability to make plays and play stout defense at 6-foot-7, the Warriors would not have been three-time champions.

Congrats to Livingston on a great career, which we never could have expected him to have back in 2007.

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Basketball

Joe Johnson Signs with the Detroit Pistons, Michael Beasley Released

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After it appeared that Joe Johnson’s career may be coming to a close, Iso Joe found new life in the Big 3, working his way back into the NBA.

Johnson, 38, has been signed to the Detroit Pistons on a one-year contract.

Johnson did not garner any initial interest when it came to his free agency this offseason, but then came his stint in the Big 3, which saw him absolutely demolish the competition.

Johnson led his team, the Triplets, to a Big 3 championship and was named the league’s MVP. Now he goes back into the NBA, after he was out of the league for all of last season.

We last saw Johnson play for the Utah Jazz and the Houston Rockets in the 2017-18 NBA season, when he averaged 11.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game for the two teams.

What Johnson proved in the Big 3, is if you give him the minutes and the ball, he can still get buckets with the best of them.

To make room for him on the Pistons roster, they ended up releasing Michael Beasley, who was suspended to start the season anyway.

Johnson joins forces with Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose, to a form a team that we would have been salivating over seven years ago.

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Basketball

Team USA Eliminated From FIBA World Cup After Losing to France in Quarterfinals

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Team USA has officially been eliminated from the FIBA World Cup, suffering their most embarrassing international loss in some time.

France outscored Team USA by 13 points in the fourth quarter to seal a 10-point victory and advance to the semifinals.

Donovan Mitchell carried the Americans through the first three quarters of the game, finishing with a team-high 29 points.

On the other hand, Kemba Walker had a terrible last game, in what was otherwise an amazing tournament for the NBA All-Star. He was held to just 10 points and did not notch a single assist.

Walker was actually outplayed all game by French guard, Frank Ntilikina. Ntilikina has had a disappointing start to his NBA career with the New York Knicks, but showed he can still play in this game.

Ntilikina, 21, is most known for being the last first-round pick by Phil Jackson, before he was removed from his role as the President of the Knicks.

It is a pick that has been mocked since, as better players like Mitchell where selected after Ntilikina was taken eighth overall.

In this game however, Ntilikina made all of the difference, as his work locking up Walker on the defense, proved to be the deciding factor in France’s win.

Ntilikina also hit two big shots at the end of the game for France, as they ended a 58-game winning streak by Team USA in international play.

Along with Ntilikina, France received big performances from their two biggest NBA stars, Rudy Gobert and Evan Fournier.

Team USA was not the only team to get upset in the quarterfinals, as Serbia also suffered a shocking defeat by losing to Argentina.

Argentina’s only real well-known NBA player is Luis Scola, who has been out of the league for a few years. Yet they beat Nikola Jokic and a favored Serbian team.

Now Team USA will play Serbia in the loser’s bracket, meanwhile France will take on Argentina in the semifinals.

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