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Westbrook Excited For New Opportunity With Rockets

Rockets introduced 2017 MVP Friday

July 26, 2019 - 3:55 pm

HOUSTON (SportsRadio 610)- Russell Westbrook's first impression of Houston in late July is probably similar to the average person visiting for the first time.

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"It's hot as hell," Westbrook said Friday from Toyota Center's air conditioned press conference room.

Westbrook is officially a member of the Rockets after being introduced at a press conference Friday alongside the man who pulled off the trade for him, Rockets general manager Daryl Morey.

"Obviously, we're here for one reason only, to take that next step that we've been trying to do for the last few years," Morey said in an opening statement. "Anytime a team has added two MVPs to their team in the last couple of years it's worked out pretty well, including recently for Golden State, who just did that and it seemed to workout for them."

The Rockets other MVP, James Harden, leaned forward from his chair in the front row throughout the 20 minute press conference as his childhood friend took questions about how this new duo would work.

"Me and James have been friends for many, many years," Westbrook said. "Since I was 10, actually. We played for many years with each other in Oklahoma City. To be able to win something you gotta be able to sacrifice some parts of your game, and we both understand that, and we both understand that we have one common goal, and that's to win a championship."

Westbrook averaged a triple-double the last three seasons, but that didn't translate to wins. Oklahoma City never finished higher than fourth in the West and lost all three of its playoff series, winning just four games in the process, so Westbrook is ready for a new challenge and believes he can help push the Rockets over the top.

"I can play off the ball. I don't have to touch the ball to impact the game, and that's the best way for me to come back and impact this team. I can do other things on the floor to be able  make sure we have a better chance of winning."

Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni was not in attendance at Toyota Center Friday, but Morey believes the Rockets are well-equipped to figure out how to best utilize Westbrook and Harden together because of him.

"The biggest strength, I think of Coach D'Antoni and his staff is taking what guys are good at and putting them in ways to succeed."After the Thunder's first round playoff loss to Portland, Westbrook underwent two operations, one to repair a torn ligament in his non-shooting hand and an elective right knee arthroscopic procedure, but he says he'll be ready to go when the Rockets begin training camp in September.

"I'm doing great, I'm taking my time, resting as much as I can cause we're gonna go after it at the start of the season, and I'll be ready to go."

Russell Westbrook spent the last 11 years trying to beat the Rockets, and in the process became quite the foil for Rockets fans. When asked what he'd like those fans to know about him now that he's moved south, his answer was simple.

"I'm a nice guy. I'm human. I'm a human being. I am a good person, and, I do care about the community, the team, my teammates, Everybody. I just want to make sure that I do whatever I can to make sure we have a chance to win."