When the Houston Rockets acquired Chris Paul a few years ago, the move was met with equal parts of skepticism and joy. It was clear that the Rockets needed more than just James Harden if they were going to make a run at the Warriors and possibly win the Western Conference.
So, the Rockets did it what it took to acquire another star. But was it the right star? Could Paul and Harden co-exist? Many were not sure that they could. With how the 2017-18 season played out, it seemed apparent that they were wrong.
But then the 2018-19 season ended with the Rockets falling to the Warriors yet again—and the rumors started. According to the rumors, Chris Paul and James Harden do not care for each other. They don’t like playing together, and they don’t like each other off the court, either.
Depending on who you want to listen to and believe Paul has demanded that the Rockets trade him. Harden has supposedly issued a ‘him or me’ proclamation—and it is safe to say that it will not be Harden anytime soon.
That would mean it has to be the soon-to-be 35-year-old Paul and his massive contract (three years, $124 million). If he was still producing as he did back during his day with the Clippers, it might be easy to trade him—but he isn’t.
Paul is not worth a max deal, but he managed to get one. So, now the Rockets or anyone foolish enough to trade for him will be stuck paying it. But maybe in a different system and with other players, he could become a guy worthy of his contract once again.
Houston will need to convince someone that is possible if they really want to trade him, and oddsmakers seem to think there are a few good candidates. According to BetOnline.ag, Paul’s odds of playing with a few specific teams are as follows:
- Houston Rockets -350
- Los Angeles Clippers +350
- Los Angeles Lakers +350
- New York Knicks +600
- Dallas Mavericks +800
- Brooklyn Nets +1200
If he were to go anywhere, the Lakers would likely be the best fit since Paul and LeBron James are good friends. But with the Lakers trading for Anthony Davis, they will not have much to offer the Rockets in return. With all the assets that they are sending the Pelicans, they don’t have much more they can spare (that is worth having).
With how he left the Clippers, it doesn’t make sense for him to go back there. According to recent reports, the Knicks declined a trade offer from the Rockets for him. There simply is no reason to think the Mavericks or Nets are interested in him.
More than likely, he is going to remain with the Rockets next season.
Does that mean the Rockets are doomed to fail because of the apparent dysfunction? Yes—but only if you believe the dysfunction exists. Neither Paul nor Harden has directly commented on the rumors, but Paul has said on Instagram that the trade demands he allegedly made are ‘news to him.’