Now we see why the Rockets were so confident they were getting Chris Paul.
The Rockets have made a major trade, sending Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams, Sam Dekker, Montrezl Harrell, Kyle Wiltjer, DeAndre Liggins, Darrun Hilliard and their 2018 first round pick to the Los Angeles Clippers for superstar point guard Chris Paul, as first reported by Yahoo! Sports. Liggins and Hilliard were acquired today from the Dallas Mavericks and Detroit Pistons respectively for cash to help facilitate the deal. The first round pick is top-3 protected.
Paul had informed the Clippers he was going to sign with the Rockets, which made Los Angeles open to the deal.
Wow. So much to digest. If you listened to our podcast Monday morning, I said I felt this was going to happen because the Rockets were operating as if they already had Paul, but it’s another thing entirely to see it actually occur. It’s a high price to pay for a player who said he was willing to sign here, but the Rockets would have had to unload Ryan Anderson and likely Lou Williams to clear enough space to sign Paul outright.
I hate losing Patrick Beverley, who is one of my favorite players ever, but it’s hard to pass on Chris Paul, who is a legit superstar and, like Beverley, also a First Team All-Defensive player.
The Rockets are trying something unique here — two ball-dominant point guards who want to play with each other. Harden led the league in assists per game last year (11.2) while Paul was fourth (9.2). If Paul and James Harden are both willing to sacrifice their numbers to make it work, and it seems they’re willing to do that, then this could be something that works. I have to think last year’s ballhandling collapse at the end of Game 5 (that clearly carried over to Game 6) likely doesn’t occur if the team has Chris Paul.
But there are plenty of pros: The Rockets will have a superstar playmaker on the floor at all times. They will be able to penetrate and make something happen from both sides of the floor. D’Antoni, an offensive genius, has two of the best offensive creators in the game. Both Paul and Harden are good shooters that could (potentially) play off of each other. Paul hit over 41% from three-point range last season.
And filling out the roster? What role player or shooter out there wouldn’t want to play in a system run by D’Antoni that features two of the most unselfish superstars in the game?
The question really is just about egos — they need to win to make this work.