Chris Paul is heading to the Houston Rockets. Adrian Wojnarowski, of The Vertical, reported that the Los Angeles Clippers made the move early Wednesday morning.
Paul did the Clippers a favor here, as he opted into his contract – which was worth $24.2 million. This then allowed the Clippers to trade Paul for assets.
In the deal, Houston sends role players to the Clippers. Most notably are point guard Patrick Beverley, and shooting guard Lou Williams.
For Paul, his championship window is starting to close. Now, with Harden and Paul on the same team, the Rockets become more of a threat to the Golden State Warriors.
Another playmaker is just what this team needed, and from what we know already, a Mike D’Antoni team is electric with a playmaking point guard.
D’Antoni’s teams in Phoenix were best when Steve Nash ran the show. Last season was a perfect example as well.
Harden carried most of the load at the point guard position. Now, with a true point guard on the roster, the team can be that much more dangerous
Wojnarowski reported that for both players, the interest to play with each other was mutual.
“Paul had a strong desire to play with Rockets All-Star guard James Harden, which led to the Clippers working out a trade with Houston, league sources said. Los Angeles was able to secure several tradable assets and a draft pick in the deal. The Clippers risked losing Paul for nothing in free agency.” – Adrian Wojnarowski
The dynamic of the Western Conference has changed once again.
With every team trying to gather more assets to have a chance at the Warriors, Houston was the second team to add an elite piece. Jimmy Butler, now of the Timberwolves, was the first domino to fall.
Paul is coming off of a season with the Clippers, where he was not named an All-Star for the first time in nine seasons, but put up strong numbers.
Last season, Paul averaged 18.1 points per game, 5.0 rebounds per game, and 9.2 assists per game. He played in just 61 games as well.
At 32-years-old, Paul still provides a lot on the defensive side of the ball.
Last season, the Rockets finished at No. 18 in defensive rating. The Clippers finished at No. 12.
Now with the addition of Paul, the defense for Houston should improve. In the 2016-2017 campaign, Paul was tied for the lead in steals, at two per contest.
For Houston, this is just one more step to challenging Golden State. The Rockets are still in need of at least one more weapon, but the acquisition of Paul is an excellent start.