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The Houston Rockets are shaking up their roster, sending Russell Westbrook to the Washington Wizards in return for John Wall. Michael Wyke/Associated Press

HOUSTON — The Houston Rockets have agreed to trade Russell Westbrook to the Washington Wizards for John Wall and a first-round draft pick, two people familiar with the deal told The Associated Press.

The people spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity Wednesday because the deal, which was first reported by ESPN, hadn’t been announced.

The move ends Westbrook’s tenure in Houston after just one disappointing season. Westbrook was traded from Oklahoma City for Chris Paul and draft picks in July 2019.

The Rockets had hoped that the 32-year-old Westbrook would be the final piece they needed to win their first title since winning back-to-back championships in 1994-95. But instead, they were eliminated from the playoffs by the Lakers in the Western Conference semifinals.

Wall, the first overall pick in the 2010 draft, has spent his entire career in Washington. He’s a five-time All-Star, but his career has been marred by injuries, most recently a ruptured Achilles’ tendon. He hasn’t played since December 2018, but has said he’s ready to play this season

The trade swaps two of the biggest contracts in the NBA. Westbrook and Wall are on nearly identical contracts that pay them more than $41 million this season and $44 million next season, with player options in excess of $47 million the following season.

Westbrook, the NBA MVP in 2016-17, reportedly wanted out of Houston after the team started to fall into disarray. He averaged 27.2 points this past season, but his assist and rebounding numbers dropped significantly after he averaged a triple-double the previous three seasons.

LAKERS: LeBron James has agreed to a contract extension with Los Angeles.

James’ agency, Klutch Sports, confirmed the deal during the first week of training camp for the NBA champions. The Lakers are still finalizing their new contract with Anthony Davis, who is also represented by Klutch CEO Rich Paul.

The Los Angeles Times reported James’ extension is a two-year, $85 million deal through the 2022-23 season. The four-time NBA champion is getting the maximum deal to extend his tenure in Los Angeles, where he moved two seasons ago.

THE NBA said Wednesday that 48 players have tested positive for the coronavirus since testing resumed last week.

The league and National Basketball Players Association said 546 players were tested between Nov. 24-30 in the initial phase of testing after returning to team markets. That means about 9% of the tests were positive.

Any player with a confirmed positive test is isolated until cleared by rules established by the league and union, in accordance with CDC guidance. The league’s health and safety protocols for this season say that anyone with a positive test in this precamp phase “must receive medical clearance from a team-designated physician and a league-designated physician prior to entering a team facility, participating in in-person team-organized activities, or interacting in-person with other” members of their team.

Players needed three negative PCR tests between Nov. 24-30 before they could be cleared to start individual workouts, which will last throughout this week. A handful of teams are expected to be cleared to start group sessions or 5-on-5 practices Friday, most others on Sunday, and Golden State will on Monday.

Anyone with a confirmed positive test will also need to successfully complete a cardiac exam before being able to return to play. It’s a possibility that some of the 48 positive players won’t be cleared before the preseason schedule starts Dec. 11.

“I’m confident that the league is going to do everything in their power to do things the right way and to protect us, protect the players and the staffs. Then, who the hell knows?” Golden State Coach Steve Kerr said Tuesday, prior to the Warriors revealing that two players had positive tests. “I mean, it’s 2020. I think we just have to go into it with an open mind and do our best and see what happens.”

The NBA had no players test positive once they entered the bubble at Walt Disney World for the 2019-20 season restart in July.

 

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