Russell Westbrook received a rousing sendoff Thursday evening from the followers in Oklahoma, simply because the information broke that Westbrook was about to be traded to the Houston Rockets.
Minutes after ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski broke the information in regards to the commerce, Westbook took the stage to a standing ovation at a comedy present at Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa.
Westbook had been scheduled to speak to reporters at 8:15 p.m. Japanese time — roughly 10 minutes earlier than Wojnarowski tweeted in regards to the commerce. As a substitute, Westbrook skipped the interview session and took the stage, the place he launched Demetrius Deason, a childhood good friend who was co-hosting the occasion with Westbrook.
The timing of the information introduced a surreal really feel to the occasion, the place Westbrook was all smiles on stage.
Westbrook got here again on stage on the finish of the night and thanked the followers for his or her help, then posed for footage with followers afterward.
With the Thunder in rebuilding mode following the Paul George commerce final weekend, Westbrook had been rumored to be on the buying and selling block over the previous week. However a lot of the reporting advised Westbrook was headed to Miami. As a substitute, he’ll head to Houston, the place he’ll reunite with former teammate James Harden to type one of the vital explosive backcourts in latest NBA historical past.
Two sources near Westbrook informed me that Westbrook and his camp had recognized for the previous 4 days that he was heading to Houston.
Deason informed me that the timing of the information couldn’t have been higher.
“It’s dope,” he mentioned. “If I may have picked that we dropped the information on any day, I feel it might have been tonight. I feel that’s what I’d have needed. The comedy gods had been on my facet tonight.”
I requested Deason what he’d decide because the title for the present given Westbrook’s departure.
“Farewell Oklahoma,” he mentioned with a smile.
Russell Westbrook Dominated in OKC for 11 Seasons
Followers in Oklahoma are keen on Westbrook for good cause: He was on the inaugural Thunder workforce in 2008-09 after the workforce moved to OKC from Seattle. He made a right away affect as a rookie, then proceeded to grow to be one of the vital dominant gamers within the league — and ultimately the face of the OKC franchise.
After spending eight seasons partially within the shadow of Kevin Durant, Westbrook delivered three of probably the most dominant seasons in NBA historical past, averaging a triple double annually from 2016-17 by 2018-19 and successful the MVP award in 2017 alongside along with his second scoring title.
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