The second big splash of the NBA off-season has happened. Los Angeles Clipper, All-Star point guard, Chris Paul is heading to Houston. Paul in his 12 seasons in the NBA has won anything but a deep playoff run, losing any hope of a championship. Paul opted in to his contract (after initially opting out). With Clippers looking to lose him for nothing in July, they dealt him to acquire assets. Houston paid but he did not come cheap.
Houston had a busy day, and executed several trades with Dallas, Detroit, Atlanta, Philadelphia and Portland before trading with the Clippers. As per the trade, Chris Paul will be going to Houston. Houston have sent Sam Dekker, Lou Williams, Patrick Beverly, DeAndre Liggins, Darrun Hillard, Kyle Wiltjer, Montrezl Harrell, Cash and the 2018 First Round Pick. In 6 seasons with the Clippers, Paul averaged 18.8 points a game and 9.8 assists a game and 2.2 steals a game. This is pairs up Paul with Houston’s MVP candidate James Harden, Coach of the Year Mike D’Antoni and the Sixth man of the year, Eric Gordon. Harden had been trying to recruit Paul for a while and his wish came true. This trade, looks to be a winner for all the parties involved. It will also allow him to sign a $207 million, 5 year extension with Houston should be in the all-NBA team after 2017-18.
Chris Paul is desperate to win a championship and the Clippers were not going to accomplish that. Their lob-city star trio of Paul, Jordan and Griffin could not get them past the 2nd round of the playoffs. Griffin looks likely to leave the Clippers. Jordan is being used for a possible trade. Houston will give Paul the chance as he joins a team that is just a few pieces short of a ring. With Harden, Gordon, Ryan Anderson he now joins a team that is capable of making deep playoff runs.
Houston get an elite guard who can run the floor, and provide much needed defensive grit in the team. Paul has been named to the all NBA defensive team 9 times since 2007 and on the first team since 2012. He should help compensate for Harden’s next to nothing defence, while being a capable scoring and providing option for the team. His averages during his Clippers tenure attest to that. To fit Paul in, Harden will move back to the Shooting guard position. It is yet to be seen how the offence will run, but it would likely be dominated by Harden owing to his offensive prowess. Paul can be a major ball-handler and a good scoring option. It would be hard to see Houston score fewer points a game, but should now allow lesser points a game. Their point differential should be more than their 2016-17’s 5.7 a game. Paul will not slow down D’Antoni’s fast paced offence whatsoever.
For the Clippers, this is a smart move. Rather than losing Paul for free, they are getting in assets in the form of 3 players and 2018 1st round pick (reported to be top-3 protected). Lou Williams is a good scorer, Patrick Beverly is a good defensive guard and Dekker can be a young forward that could develop into a good support cast. Harrell has been a great backup centre for the Rockets this season. Hillard, Liggins, Wiltjer can be used to facilitate other trades. This would help Jerry West rebuild the franchise he has now taken the reigns over. If they end up moving Jordan later this season, there would be sufficient assets for the team. Jerry West is a proven executive that can create championship teams.
The first major splash after the draft. Houston now have a formidable back court. If it works, it would be hard to see them not challenging the Warriors and Spurs for supremacy in the Western Conference.