Over the off-season, all-star point guard Chris Paul of the LA Clippers was traded to the Rockets. In exchange, the Clippers received Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams, Montrezl Harrell, Sam Dekker, DeAndre Liggins, Kyle Wiltjer, Darrun Hilliard, a first-round pick in next year’s draft, and $661,000. Chris Paul will be joining James Harden in Houston’s backcourt this season. Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey said: “We felt like with James Harden in his prime and Chris Paul in his prime this gives us a real shot to chase the juggernaut teams that are out there”–referring to NBA “super-teams” like the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Chris Paul was expected to opt-out of his Clippers contract and become a free agent. According to SBNation, Chris Paul could have re-signed with Los Angeles for a five-year deal worth more than $200 million. Instead, he joined James Harden in Houston to form one of the strongest backcourts in the NBA. Now Manager Daryl Morey believes having two all-star players on Houston’s roster will help lure in more free agents.
Chris Paul is not the only star player leaving the Clippers; shooting guard J.J. Redick has signed with the Philadelphia 76’ers, and Blake Griffin, the Clippers starting power forward, has informed the team he will be opting out of his contract and becoming a free agent.
Now a few games in, we are getting a look at the traded players stats on their new team. Patrick Beverley will be taking over point guard on the LA Clippers this season. In the first game of the regular season, Beverly played 22 minutes and had 10 points. Chris Paul had 33 minutes in the Rockets season opener and only put up 4 points. Lou Williams will also be starting as shooting guard in LA, Williams is averaging 24.5 minutes per game and 15 points.
Chris Paul is expected to miss 2-4 weeks from a bruised-knee injury during the pre-season. The Rockets don’t believe it is a serious injury, but they want his knee to heal so come playoff time, he is 100% healthy.
It won’t be clear which team got the better end of the deal until Paul is healthy again. The Rockets now have one of the best backcourts in the league but had to trade many players from their second unit. Los Angeles lost one of their best players but has added many average players to their roster who are also available for possible trading. The Clippers also received a first-round draft pick for next year’s draft. First round picks always have good potential and can evolve into key players on their teams. With Chris Paul’s contract with LA ending and choosing not to re-sign, he made himself available as a free agent and ended up signing with the Houston Rockets over the off-season.
After Paul recovers from his knee injury, he and Harden will be able to lead the Rockets to a successful season in the NBA.