Houston Rockets @HoustonRockets
Welcome to #RedNation @CP3. Can't wait for the season to start! 🚀🏀 https://t.co/NsDwYfuqNT2017-6-28 21:29:49
Paul agreed to opt into his player option, which allowed the Los Angeles Clippers to flip him to the Rockets in exchange for Patrick Beverley, Sam Dekker, Lou Williams, Montrezl Harrell, Darrun Hilliard, DeAndre Liggins, Kyle Wiltjer, a 2018 first-round pick and future cash considerations.
Sam Amick of USA Today reported Houston's first-round pick is top-three protected.
The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Paul "had a strong desire to play with Rockets All-Star guard James Harden," leading to the trade. Wojnarowski also stated that Paul and Harden spoke about playing together "at length," adding they believe they can "thrive together."
Jeff Goodman of ESPN shared word from a source who said the Spurs "didn't show significant interest" in Paul before the deal to Houston as the team has an "aging point guard" in Tony Parker.
Paul released a statement on Twitter following the move:
Chris Paul @CP3
Unbelievable amount of emotions right now.. https://t.co/1FB7ade7uC2017-6-28 18:32:57
ESPN's Michael Eaves provided insight into Paul's decision to leave Los Angeles:
Paul, 32, has remained one of the best point guards in basketball and has averaged at least 15.0 points and 7.0 assists in every season of his career. He was expected to be one of the top free agents on the market this offseason.
The move signals a sea change for the Clippers, who were never able to secure a berth in the Western Conference Finals with Paul at the helm.
Given that he could have bolted in free agency for nothing, the Clippers did their best to extract some value for the future Hall of Famer while they still could.
ESPN's Ramona Shelburne noted the trade was part of Jerry West's newfound influence on the Clippers, adding West was "not in favor of the 'just bring everyone back' plan."
Paul will represent an enormous upgrade for the Rockets and put them in the conversation for a title in the coming years now that he's teamed up with Harden, Eric Gordon, Ryan Anderson and Trevor Ariza.
Paul is an interesting fit in Houston, and he will likely bump Harden from point guard over to the 2. The team now has two elite ball-handlers and one of the league's most dangerous backcourts. Landing Paul makes them a true title contender and the biggest threat to the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference.
There will be questions about how Paul fits in Mike D'Antoni's system or alongside Harden, but if everything clicks, the Rockets will be one of the best and most entertaining teams in the NBA next season.