The Houston Rockets are clearly in desperation mode at this point. They’ve gone directly after the Golden State Warriors the last two years in the playoffs and come up short. That’s why they must have felt like they had to do something big, namely getting rid of Chris Paul’s contract at all costs, even if it mortgages their future. Either that or the reported rift between James Harden and Paul was/is real and they had no choice.

Regardless, the Rockets just made their move, sending Paul to the Oklahoma City Thunder for former MVP Russell Westbrook. To make it happen, they also had to give up two first-round picks and agree to two more pick swaps too. That’s a lot.

While this trade looks really lopsided for the Thunder (it is), the Rockets had to make it because of Paul’s contract and how bad it is. The oft-injured 34-year-old has three more years on his $159-million contract, which includes a player option for $44 million in the final year. You can bet Paul will be cashing that check when he’s 36. So the Rockets had to pay to get rid of that with two first rounders. Plus they got the better player.