This is a last resort type move for both organizations involved, and the fact they didn’t talk about the deal for weeks and then got it done yesterday in a matter of hours proves it. That's why you can't point at one team and label them as clear winners of the trade. This was more about making the most out of an already lose-lose situation, and with the way the NBA market is, you can say both Washington and Houston were able to do it.
The Rockets get a star point guard coming off an Achilles injury, hungry to prove himself to the NBA world. And the Wizards? The Wizards get Mr. Tenacious himself, as he'll look to make them into an Eastern Conference contender, alongside All-Star shooting-guard in Bradley Beal.
Still, Washington fans don't sound too happy about the deal. All the baggage that comes with having Russ on your team isn't making them optimistic about their future together. If you are one of those, go ahead and read what Fred Katz of The Athletic wrote about the newly acquired Washington Wizard. He covered Westbrook for over two years in Oklahoma and has the insight into the personality Russ embodies and all the stories to back it up. Here's one of the stories. Hopefully, it makes the Wizards fans more optimistic about their new superstar player.
For this one, we have to go all the way back to Westbrook's early UCLA days, when Russell was so anonymous, that one time while sitting in the bleachers at the Wooden Center, average Joe he didn’t know started talking trash to him from the court. “You think you’re all that!” he yelled to Russ. “You ain’t trying to play! You’re sitting there with your shoes off.”
People who know Westbrook say that if he’s trash talking, you’re in the clear; when he goes quiet is when you know you’ve really pissed him off. This was one of those times. He got up, borrowed someone else’s playing shoes, accepted the challenge, and completely annihilated the guy one-on-one.
He killed him. Then he took the shoes off, looked at him, went ‘Hehehe’ and walked off. And everyone in the gym was just cracking up.
Mustafa Abdul-Hamid, The Athletic
This is also who Russell Westbrook was during his days with the Thunder, and I'm sure it's the version of Russ we'll see in Washington. That's where the Wizards fans should find optimism. They just acquired one of the most tenacious, driven, high-energy guys in the association, who is never afraid of the challenge and has the confidence about him that is unmatched.
Those are all the qualities he'll bring to the table, and it'll be enough to make Washington relevant again. That's a good place to start, and it's something the Wizards fans should look forward to.