Before Kawhi Leonard and the Toronto Raptors took down the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals this season, the Houston Rockets were widely considered to be the greatest threat to dynasty in Oakland. The Rockets were elevated to that lofty status due to the massive on-court success following their trade to land Chris Paul from the Los Angeles Clippers. While Chris Paul has a history of rubbing teammates the wrong way and overstaying his welcome, general manager Daryl Morey and the Rockets gambled and felt that a pairing with James Harden would be a match made in heaven.
The Houston Rockets had the Warriors on the brink of elimination during the 2018 Western Conference Finals and it looked like their dream season would be punctuated with a win in the NBA Finals. They had the best record in the NBA, and thanks to their 65-17 record they were the only team to have a home-court advantage against the Warriors at that point. Daryl Morey, Mike D’Antoni, James Harden, and the rest of the Houston Rockets would be vindicated with a championship, but unfortunately for them, their Game 5 win to go up 3-2 came at a tremendous cost, they lost Chris Paul for the rest of the series as he injured his hamstring.
That appears to have been the beginning of the end for this iteration of the Houston Rockets, as numerous reports have now been put out by Vince Goodwill of Yahoo Sports and Shams Charania of The Athletic that indicate that the magic has worn off between the two superstars in Houston. The relationship reportedly is “unsalvageable”, Chris Paul reportedly requested a trade, and the Rockets reportedly are exploring trades to get the star, and his massive contract, onto another roster.
Daryl Morey and Chris Paul denied these rumors on instagram, but more reports have come out that further the initial reports that the duo will not be playing together for much longer. The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor reported that the Rockets tried to trade him to the New York Knicks, but they weren’t interested. Shams Charania then went on to further that report, and say that there simply isn’t any interest in acquiring Chris Paul by anyone in the NBA.
“Chris Paul is owed $125,000,000 over three years. There’s not a team in the league right now that is like ‘I’m gonna trade for Chris Paul,'” Charania said. “Even some teams that they called, I’m told, as just a dump, like ‘we’ll give you Chris Paul for free’ and those teams are like: ‘We’re good.’ So, the value just is not there right now.”
It’s not clear what Chris Paul’s future in the NBA will look like, or where he will be playing, but one thing appears to be certain: Houston, you have a problem.