Rockets acquire Westbrook for Paul, picks — Russell Westbrook and James Harden are together again, and Chris Paul is leaving Houston to make that reunion happen. The Oklahoma City Thunder have reportedly traded Westbrook to the Houston Rockets for Paul in a swapping of top point guards. The Thunder also are getting first-round picks in 2024 and 2026, plus the right to swap first-rounders in two other seasons, according to the person who spoke on condition of anonymity Thursday because the trade has not been announced. ESPN first reported the agreement. Westbrook and Harden were Thunder teammates for three seasons, the last of those in 2011-12 when that duo and Kevin Durant took Oklahoma City to the NBA Finals. They lost in five games to the Miami Heat, and Harden departed that summer for Houston. Paul is owed roughly $125 million over the final three years of his contract, including a $44.2 million option for 2021-22. Westbrook is owed $171 million over the final four years of his existing deal.
Tour de France rookies dominate sixth stage — Two Tour de France rookies stole the show on the first mountain stage, with Dylan Teuns of Belgium winning Stage 6 and Giulio Ciccone of Italy taking the overall race lead on Thursday. Defending champion Geraint Thomas also rode strongly, going some way to answer questions about his fitness after he crashed out of the Tour de Suisse in June. He rode in fourth at the top of the strenuous climb to the Planche des Belles Filles ski station in the Vosges mountains of eastern France. But the severity of the ascent torpedoed other main contenders. One of the big losers of the day was French rider Romain Bardet, a podium finisher in 2016 and 2017, who rode in 1 minute, 9 seconds after Thomas. Vincenzo Nibali, the 2014 Tour champion, lost 51 seconds to Thomas on the climb and is in 20th place overall, 1:07 behind Thomas.
Ortiz recovering from 3rd surgery — Former Red Sox slugger David Ortiz is recovering from a third surgery after experiencing complications resulting from his gunshot wound. Ortiz’s wife, Tiffany, says in a statement Thursday that he is “recovering well and in good spirits.” He had the surgery earlier this week at Massachusetts General Hospital. Ortiz was shot in the back at a bar in the Dominican Republic last month. Dominican police have said he was mistaken for another man who was sitting near him at the club.
— From wire reports