Rockets and Guard Chris Paul Allegedly on Thin Ice Over Contract
When point guard Chris Paul went the Houston Rockets prior to the 2017-18 NBA season, he was hoping for the chance to fight for an NBA Championship title, a feat which has eluded him throughout his Hall of Fame-worthy career. He took a pretty big pay cut in order to do so, sacrificing over $10 million in order to enable a trade between Houston and the Clippers. The Rockets organization made it clear that they would take care of him, but things aren’t looking so good in Houston right now.
On a Friday episode of Undisputed, Chris Broussard indicated that sources are alerting him of tension between Paul and the Rockets arising from an alleged contract dispute coming from the result in a change of ownership in the Rockets organization.
— UNDISPUTED (@undisputed) June 22, 2018
Paul’s max contract is a huge one, as it’s potentially worth a whopping $205 million over the course of five years. This isn’t entirely unheard of when it comes to NBA stars, but an issue arises when you consider Paul’s age. At 33-years-old, his best playing days are likely behind him, and although his play-style will likely enable him to play at a high level for the rest of his career, such huge deals are usually more geared toward players in their prime.
Apparently, the new Rockets owner Tillman Ferttita may not be willing to pay Paul such a hefty sum, as he is already strapped for cash given the fact that he spent so much of his own money in buying the team in the first place. In addition, the Rockets could lose both forward Trevor Ariza and center Clint Capela in free agency. Given Capela’s emergence as a great rebounder and defensive stopper, teams are likely going to make a huge push for his services, and the Rockets will need to compete in order to keep him in Houston. The Rockets could also make a push for LeBron James this summer, which of course would cost them a fortune. With all this in mind, it’s tough to imagine Frettita giving Paul all the money he wants.
All hypotheticals aside, Chris Paul is absolutely vital to this Rockets team. They were on the verge of finally making it to the NBA Finals before Paul suffered an injury in Game 5 and missed the rest of the series. Without him, Houston was a shell of the team they looked to be during the regular season, ultimately losing the Western Conference Finals to the Warriors in seven games.
If this situation proves to be as tense as rumors say it is and Paul ends up leaving Houston as a result, the Rockets take a huge step back once the 2018-19 season comes around. Making matters exponentially worse would be LeBron James signing with another team in the West during free agency. The Lakers are considered a prime destination for LeBron, as well as Paul George and maybe Kawhi Leonard. If that team were to come together, there would be a new super team in the West to contend with the Warriors. And if Paul leaves Houston, it’s really tough to see the Rockets standing a chance.
Keep in mind that these are all rumors as of right now, but this situation could end up playing a huge, huge part in how this NBA offseason works out.