Rockets' Daryl Morey: Chris Paul Doesn't Want to Be Traded; Wants to Add a Star

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJune 17, 2019

LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 14: Chris Paul #3 of the Houston Rockets, LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers and Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder attend a game between the Las Vegas Aces and New York Liberty  on June 14, 2019 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE  (Photo by David Becker/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Daryl Morey has made it clear in no uncertain terms: Chris Paul is not going anywhere.

The Houston Rockets general manager appeared on SportsTalk 790 on Monday, unequivocally denying Paul has requested a trade or that the team will explore a move:

ESPN's Stephen A. Smith said last week that he heard Paul wanted out of Houston, setting his sights on a potential partnership with LeBron James in Los Angeles. 

The Rockets have been in a sea of internal discord since being eliminated by the Golden State Warriors in the conference semifinals. Owner Tilman Fertitta has placed a win-now edict on the front office and roster, which is potentially gearing up for an overhaul.

The Rockets have already fired most of Mike D'Antoni's coaching staff and went into ugly, public extension negotiations with their coach. D'Antoni and the Rockets remain at an impasse in negotiations, and it appears likely he'll coach the 2019-20 season as a proverbial lame duck.

ESPN's Tim MacMahon also reported on tensions between Paul and James Harden, particularly regarding their offensive scheme. Paul became frustrated with Harden's propensity to dominate the ball and the Rockets' lack of set plays—Houston averaged more than two times as many isolation plays as any other team.

Harden thrives in isolation more than any player in the modern era, but the offensive stasis has been an issue each of the last two postseasons.

"What you have are two highly competitive guys who were very disappointed that we didn't beat Golden State," Morey said. "You've got two high-level competitors who want to figure out how to win at a higher level, as well. Naturally, people who want that so bad, something that's so tough, it's going to create sometimes things that need to be discussed. But it's all, to me, in bounds of any superstars."

MacMahon reported that Morey has indeed shopped Paul on the trade market. However, it's unlikely he will find a taker who will give the Rockets near equal value because of the three years and $124 million remaining on Paul's contract.

That means the Rockets will instead focus their efforts on potentially trading Clint Capela, Eric Gordon and/or PJ Tucker for a third star. The West is wide-open following injuries to Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson, putting an even greater emphasis on Fertitta's win-now desires.

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