Whereas some teams struggle to assimilate their offseason additions into the rotation, Paul has made a seamless transition to D'Antoni's uptempo offense. The nine-time All-Star is averaging 14.3 points and 9.8 assists in his first 10 games with the team.
Most importantly, Paul hasn't adversely impacted the dynamic D'Antoni and James Harden created a season ago. The Rockets are second in offensive rating (112.9), according to NBA.com, and they own the league's best record (20-4).
If James is unable to topple the Golden State Warriors this season, few teams outside Cleveland would give him a better opportunity of dethroning the reigning champions.
With that said, it wouldn't be easy for Houston to sign James.
For one, the Rockets are on track to have the second-highest payroll in the NBA in 2018-19, per Spotrac.
Paul has a $39 million cap hold, so he could give the team some financial flexibility by agreeing to a reduced salary. Still, general manager Daryl Morey would need to shed a lot of payroll to accommodate a max contract for James. Trading Ryan Anderson, who will earn nearly $41.7 million over the next two years, or Eric Gordon, who will make more than $27.5 million over the same span, won't be easy.
The Rockets' struggles in the playoffs could factor into James' decision as well. Since Harden arrived in 2012, Houston has reached the Western Conference Finals only once. The team exited in the first round in three of its last five postseason trips.
Should the Rockets push the Warriors hard in the conference finals, James may feel confident he could partner with Harden and Paul to take Golden State down. Another playoff disappointment for Houston, on the other hand, could be disastrous to the team's hopes of landing the best free agent on the market.