The Houston Rockets have continually failed to get over the hump despite James Harden playing at an MVP level. That might explain why he pushed for a chance to reunite with ex-teammate Russell Westbrook.
Harden was apparently a "driving force" in getting the Rockets to acquire Westbrook from the Oklahoma City Thunder, according to ESPN's Tim MacMahon. Houston reportedly believes its ceiling is higher with Westbrook than it would've been with Chris Paul remaining at point guard.
The Rockets were Westbrook's preferred destination, leading to Thunder general manager Sam Presti to work with him and his agent, Thad Foucher, to make the deal happen, sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
Westbrook and Harden played together for three seasons with the Thunder, reaching the NBA Finals in 2012 before losing in five games to the Miami Heat. Harden was dealt to the Rockets shortly after in what turned out to be a one-sided deal, as he's kept the Rockets in the championship picture.
The Thunder decided to completely change their outlook, acquiring eight first-round picks in the past week - including two from the Rockets to take on Paul's contract.
Harden and Westbrook are two of the most statistically dominant players in league history. Harden recorded the seventh-best points average of all time last season, scoring 36.1 points per game, while Westbrook is coming off his third straight season averaging a triple-double.