James Harden and Chris Paul were not on the same page throughout Game 6 of the second round series against the Warriors and there were reports of a clash of styles brewing throughout the regular season, with different players, including Paul asking head coach Mike D’Antoni for more ball movement on offense.
With James Harden and Chris Paul leading the way, the Rockets have come the closest of anybody to taking down the Warriors in the Western Conference in the last two seasons but according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Harden and Paul had tense moments with one another throughout Game 6, culminating with a “verbal exchange in the locker room regarding ball distribution.”
Sources close to Wojnarowski said: “The possibility of trading All-NBA guard James Harden is believed to be extremely limited, but the rest of the roster — including even Chris Paul and Clint Capela — could be more realistic trade targets.”
Chris Paul will enter the second year of a four-year, $159,730,592 contract. The 34-year-old will be 37 when he becomes a free agent in 2022. Other expensive players that the Rockets have are Clint Capela, who will make just under $15 million next season and Eric Gordon, at just over $14 million.
Zack Rosenblatt of NJ.com believes that CP3 could return to Los Angeles, this time with the Lakers.
“Lakers get: PG Chris Paul
Rockets get: F Brandon Ingram, G Josh Hart, C Mo Wagner
Analysis: This works two-fold. The Rockets get Paul’s massive contract off their books – the Lakers can afford to absorb most of it – and get a variety of role players to augment the roster, while LeBron James gets his best friend and an All-Star to join him. The Lakers wouldn’t have the cap space to sign anyone, but perhaps they could combine draft picks, Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma to find another star in a trade.”
Rosenblatt named the Heat, Bucks, Knicks, Sixers, Suns, Spurs and Jazz as teams that could be interested in Paul. Jazz Sports has the Rockets at +850 to win the 2019-20 NBA Championship.