Russell Westbrook said he is ready to work with fellow All-Star guard James Harden to bring an NBA championship to the Houston Rockets.
Westbrook was traded to the Rockets by the Oklahoma City Thunder two weeks ago, as the organisation at which he’d spent all 11 seasons of his professional career looked to reset after sending Paul George to the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for a haul of assets.
Harden and Westbrook played together, along with Kevin Durant, in Oklahoma City for three seasons. Harden was traded to the Rockets before the 2012-13 season after being named the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year.
James Harden and Russell Westbrook in opposition at the 2019 All-Star Game
“We’ve been friends for many, many years,” Westbrook, 30, said of Harden.
“Since I was 10, actually. So we’ve played with each other in Oklahoma City, and to be able to win something, you’ve got to be willing to sacrifice some parts of your game and we both understand that.”
“We both understand that we have one common goal and that’s to win a championship. We understand what we have to do.”
James Harden drives against Russell Westbrook in a Thunder-Rockets regular season game
Despite concerns over how the two former MVPs will mesh at this stage of their careers, Westbrook has no doubts over making a successful transition from Oklahoma City.
“I’ll fit right in, personally,” Westbrook said.
“I’m not worried about it and I know James isn’t worried about it. I can play off the ball; I don’t have to touch the ball to impact the game. That’s the best way for me to come in and impact this team. I can do other things on the floor to make sure we have a better chance to win.
“Floor spread, it gives me the opportunity to attack, penetrate, kick. Defensively, it’ll give me an opportunity to switch and guard and rebound at a high level. Push the break, get us out on the break. A lot of different things.”
Want to watch the NBA and WNBA but don’t have Daily Week Sports? Get the Daily Week Sports Action and Arena pack, click here.