A lot has been made of the Rockets trading for Chris Paul, and rightfully so. Taking one of the best point guards of all-time and matching him up with one of the top players in the league in James Harden should likely yield some impressive results for Houston.
Rockets team management then showed just how serious they were about long-term success by extending The Beard through the year 2023 with a mega-contract extension totaling $228 million over the next six seasons.
That gesture was meant to send a message, both to Paul and to any other stud free agents the Rockets obtain, that the team takes care of the players they really want to keep. But with Paul signed only through the end of the season, Rockets GM Daryl Morey plans on taking a wait-and-see approach with Paul before attempting to sign him long-term.
According to Sports Illustrated’s Ben Golliver:
"We've had high-level discussions with Paul about his future," Morey told The Crossover, noting that Harden's recent $228 million extension provides a "signaling aspect" to other stars that Houston caters to its marquee players. "(Paul)hopes to continue with Houston. He likes the team, the organization and the city. In terms of him actually signing long-term, that's something that won't be decided until next year."
The Rockets want to see how well their two stars mesh before offering Paul the monster deal he’ll likely command, and the Paul/Harden duo have even already been playing/practicing together in the summer in an attempt to shrink any potential transition period once the actual season starts. Those workouts have been going well, according to Harden.
Harden told The Crossover that he and Paul have been in daily contact since the June 28 trade that sent Paul to Houston, working out together in Los Angeles and even taking the Drew League court as teammates on Sunday. In Paul, he sees a kindred spirit with a “similar personality,” painting them as two “laid back and humble” people who hate losing. And he seems to be doing everything possible to get a jump start this summer, to get ahead of the questions about their ability to work together as teammates and co-stars.
“In any relationship or partnership, you need to have communication,” Harden told The Crossover from the Adidas Basketball LVL3 event in Las Vegas. “You’ve got to know that person. Me and Chris have communicated every single day. We’ve worked out several times already, just to build that relationship, that togetherness before training camp hits. Once it starts, we’ll be rolling already.”
It sounds like the Paul and Harden are off to a good start. And though expectations are high, these two are more than equipped to meet them. And should they hit it off on the court like we all expect, you can bet a long-term offer to CP3 won’t be far behind.