The motivation behind the deals made by those teams were different, as the Rockets were forced to deal with their star players forcing their ways out of town and, conversely, Bill O'Brien actually thought he was IMPROVING the Texans. The end result has, sadly, been the same — each of these teams are among the worst in their sport.
Of the four big trades made by the two teams, which deal has aged the worst? It's an interesting question that I will credit Greg Rajan of the Houston Chronicle for putting into poll form on Twitter:
While the Hopkins trade was the most absurd of the four, no doubt, I disagree with the 55.8 percent of voters who tabbed it as having "aged the worst" since it was made, for two reasons. First, the term "agains worst" means that there's been some sort of regression, from a place where the trade was thought to eb adequate and became something far less than that. The Hopkins trade was NEVER thought to be a good deal. Not even close. It was a joke from the get go. The Westbrook trade, at the very least, was thought to be a reasonable way to get out from Chris Paul's $40 million per year contract (with three years remaining at the time).
Which major trade by a Houston team in the past two years has aged the worst?— Greg Rajan (@GregRajan) June 11, 2021
Please leave any write-in votes in the replies.
As it turned out, we were wrong about the Westbrook trade, which brings me to the second reason that i think it has turned out even worse than the Hopkins deal did for the Texans. Westbrook was a damaging force at every stage of his brief life as a Rocket.
In acquiring Westbrook, the Rockets gave up Paul and a couple first round picks (and some first round pick swaps). Paul actually revived his career, and became an MVP candidate. While with the Rockets, the only Westbrook could operate remotely well was in a "small ball" lineup, so the Rockets traded Clint Capela and operated with 6-foot-5 P.J. Tucker at center the rest of the year. Finally, when Russ wanted out after the season, the Rockets moved him to Washington, and are now stuck with John Wall's $46 million per year contract for two more years.
Yes, the Hopkins trade was awful, and you could easily argue O'Brien should have at least been relieved of GM duties on that day, if not fired altogether from all of his job functions. However, O'Brien was probably going to nosedive the Texans into the ground one way ro another, with several other deals. The trade for Westbrook was the topping point for one of the better NBA franchises this millennium, and plummeted them somewhere they haven't been since they drafted Hakeem Olajuwon in 1984 — to the basement of the NBA.
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