On paper, Chris Paul teaming up with James Harden seems great, but it might actually make things harder for the Houston Rockets to succeed.
The Los Angeles Clippers have agreed to trade Chris Paul to the Houston Rockets for Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams, Sam Dekker, and a future first round draft pick.
Paul, who spent six seasons with the Clippers, is expected to accept the opt-in clause in his contract, agreeing to stay with the Rockets long-term after his contract runs out at the end of next season.
Of course, this is huge news, and everyone is talking about it. Paul is one of the best point guards to ever play the game. Many analysts and fans believed he would end up staying with the Clippers primarily so he could make more money given how the cap is currently structured. With this trade, Paul gets his money as well as a welcome change of scenery.
He provided a heartfelt thank you to the Clippers and their fans on his personal Twitter account today:
Unbelievable amount of emotions right now.. pic.twitter.com/1FB7ade7uC
— Chris Paul (@CP3) June 28, 2017
While Paul is an incredible player, the move to Houston is a confusing one. James Harden just had his best statistical season playing point guard for the team. He showcased all year how brilliant a facilitator he was, making all of his teammates around him better with his shrewd, cunning passes.
With Paul coming on board, this will move Harden off the ball and back to the shooting guard spot. There is no question Harden will still be an effective player given his ability to shoot from anywhere on the floor. But given how well the Rockets performed last season, does adding Paul to the mix and taking the ball out of Harden’s hands make the most sense?
Honestly, you could make the case it doesn’t make any sense at all. There’s a reason Harden was an MVP candidate this past season. The Rockets struggled two years ago, before hiring Mike D’Antoni to be their head coach. Before last season, D’Antoni wisely decided to start Harden at the point guard position, resulting in a 14-win improvement from the previous season.
Mixing in another ball-dominant guard to orchestrate the offense is just flat-out strange. Yes, it’s Chris Paul, but it still seems counter-productive to everything the Rockets accomplished last season. Getting Paul doesn’t necessarily mean the Rockets are in a position to get past either the Golden State Warriors or the San Antonio Spurs out West. Which is ironic considering Paul probably made this move in order to FINALLY reach the Western Conference Finals – something he has never done before.
So before we anoint the Rockets as the next superteam, let’s wait and see how this plays out. Of course, there are rumors circulating that they are trying to add Paul George, but so is every team in the league at this point.
As it stands now, the Rockets are still a second-round exit at best. Trading for Paul only creates more questions. It will also be interesting to see if an ego-battle between Paul and Harden breaks out, being that both of these guys love handling the ball and touches will become ever so precious this season.
Maybe they will end up getting along and the Rockets have a great regular season, but as it stands right now, they still need more pieces (like George) to really make some noise moving forward.