Daryl Morey describes the Houston Rockets' trade of Chris Paul to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Russell Westbrook to Sam Amick of The Athletic as the "most intense" of any deal he has ever done.
Morey was asked whether the deal lived on the edge of not being consummated.
"Yeah, it did. It did. Mostly in the back and forth with Oklahoma City, and they did a really good job," said Morey. "It’s never easy to get a deal done. The difference between almost done and done feels like more than the distance between anything else – like, it’s more than half, for sure. But once we knew that the opportunity was there, there was a lot of – obviously – discussion, debates, analysis, back and forth with OKC. So there was a lot – a lot going on. It was a very intense period.
"Actually, when people tell me now that it was only five days from when we knew there was a chance to when it happened, it felt like two months honestly. Like, it was a really, really intense period. I’ve talked about it being the biggest risk…but people, I think, misinterpreted that I meant Russell (was the risk). But I meant more like – whenever you give up a significant chunk of your future, it’s (a risk). If I have any job – and sometimes I’m the only one worried about it – it’s how do I properly balance the present and the future. When you’re giving up future (assets), I need to be really careful that I’m making sure the franchise is protected and (owner) Tilman (Fertitta) and things like that."
Morey believes Westbrook gives the Rockets another gear to hit in the playoffs.
"Yeah, we thought we needed to add someone who might have an extra gear," said Morey. "While we were a very good team – and I’ve actually been asked, ‘Is this the best Rockets team?’ and I think we have a chance at that, but I do have to point to our team a few years ago, which won more games than very few teams in history at 65 (regular season wins), so we’ve got a ways to prove that we’re as good as that team that came very close. But with Russell here, I think we have a shot to be the best Rockets team since I’ve been here, and maybe since the championship teams (in 1994 and 1995), but we’ve got a long ways to go to show that."