The Houston Rockets got rid of Russell Westbrook after just one season with the team, shipping him to the Washington Wizards in exchange for John Wall and a 2023 first-round pick . And according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, part of the decision to make the trade was the fact that James Harden had a preference for playing with Wall instead of Westbrook.
"[James Harden] had a preference of John Wall over Westbrook," Woj said on "Get Up."
For Houston, keeping Harden happy is top priority, as the former MVP is reportedly displeased with the state of the franchise and told the team he wanted to get traded after another disappointing playoff exit followed by the departures of coach Mike D'Antoni and general manager Daryl Morey.
The Rockets are hoping to convince their franchise star to stay with the team, and trading Westbrook for Wall may be a good step in that reconciliation. Of course, this trade will likely only sway Harden in the long term if Wall actually proves to be able to regain his pre-injury form and help the Rockets become serious contenders in the Western Conference.
Woj reported that the Rockets and Wizards made the deal quickly, needing only a couple of hours to get the trade done despite previously having not talked in a few weeks. Both sides were mutually interested in the deal, which allowed for its swift execution. The Wizards also considered the desires of their franchise player, as Woj said that Bradley Beal, who is a highly-sought-after trade asset in his own right, was intrigued by playing with Westbrook.