Posted on June 26, 2018, by Travis Pulver
On the surface, it may seem like whether to give Chris Paul a ma-deal or not is an easy decision. He was an integral part of the team’s run last season. Had he not been injured the Rockets may have made it to the NBA Finals (maybe). When he, Clint Capella, and James Harden were all in the lineup, the Rockets were almost unstoppable.
Surely, the decision to resign must be an easy one—right?
Not exactly. Paul is 33 years-old and hasn’t played a full season since 2014-15. Due to health issues, he only played in 58 games last season. Chances are he is going to continue to have health issues. Maybe not so much next year or the year after. But maybe in years three, four, and five of the max deal he wants, age and a long career will catch up to his body.
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Paul supposedly had a little ‘wink, wink’ deal with former owner Leslie Alexander; he would get a max deal when he became eligible. New owner, Tilman Fertitta could honor that agreement but he is not obligated to do so. Many would say that he would be smart not to.
Paul is no longer a youngster. He is going to be quite old in NBA-years towards the end of the five-year contract that is a max deal. Chances are good that his health will continue to debilitate, and his skills will fall off in the next few years as well.
But then again— they might not.
Besides, Fertitta said he would do whatever it takes to bring a championship to Houston. So—what’s the hold-up? Paul will definitely be worth the money for the next two, three years. The last couple may not be the greatest, but Tilman said he’d have no problem paying the luxury tax.
So, what’s the problem?
While he might talk big when a reporter asks him a question, Fertitta didn’t become wealthy enough to buy an NBA franchise by making rash decisions and throwing money out the window. Securing Paul’s services may seem like a prudent move. But overpaying for them is not one.
However, if they don’t, they may lose out on Paul. If the Rockets don’t pay him, there is a chance someone else will—like the Lakers.
It’s been well known that the Lakers are going to have enough cap space for two max contracts. According to the rumor mill, if the Lakers got their wish, one would go to LeBron James and the other to Paul.
With the rumors of tension between the Rockets and Paul, the door may be open for someone like the Lakers to steal him away.
If those rumors were true.
ESPN’s Rachel Nichols caught up with Paul at the NBA Awards Monday night and found him sitting with Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey and CEO Tad Brown.
“So these are the people you hate?” Nichols asked.
“I can’t stand them, man,” Paul joked. “Ain’t we beefing? I can’t stand y’all. Get away from me.”
The so-called tension doesn’t appear to exist. But until they get him under contract, there will be a chance he could walk away. If he does, that could be the deciding factor that keeps another star from signing with Houston.
After getting real close to the NBA Finals it would be a shame to take a step back.