As we’re getting through our season recaps, Jeremy talked about how important Chris Paul was to the fortunes of the Houston Rockets this season. We all know that once he went down against the Golden State Warriors, he took the Rockets’ title hopes with him. He’s that important to Houston’s success.
Which is why it became a little disconcerting earlier this month when reports surfaced that CP3 was going to seek the max for his pending unrestricted free agency this summer. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojanrowski, there would be no discount for the Rockets in order to help them recruit other talent to H-town. A true max deal for CP3 could mean as much as $200 million committed to a 33-year-old point guard with a less-than-stellar injury history, so the scenario legitimately had Rockets fans concerned whether or not Houston would be able to bring back one of its key cogs.
Well, fret no longer, my fellow Rockets fans. Also, according Woj just yesterday, CP3 fully expects to be back in Rockets red this coming season. And not only that, he’s currently doing his best to recruit his friend LeBron James into joining him along with James Harden to create a lineup that would rival anything going on out in the Bay Area.
Woj had this to say on his podcast:
“Chris is going to return there. And listen, right now, Chris Paul’s focus isn’t so much on his own free agency. He’s trying to recruit LeBron James to Houston, and somebody close to him said to me he is as focused on recruiting LeBron as anything he’s done in this league. He wants to find a way.”
It’s great news to hear that Paul is on the recruiting trail trying to lure James to H-town, but the most pivotal part of that report is that CP3 will be back.
The Rockets have already proven that when healthy, as constructed, they can already beat any team in the league. Keeping the core of that team together (which also includes upcoming restricted free agent Clint Capela), should be management’s top priority this offseason.
Granted, should LeBron be truly interested in butting heads with the Warriors out west and joining Houston, the Rockets obviously need to do what they can to make it happen. But given that the Rockets are hardly the only suitors, and likely not even the favorites, hearing that Paul fully plans on returning should be music to the ears of any Red Rowdy out there.
The Rockets famously went 53-7 regular season and post season combined this past year when all three of Paul, Harden, and Capela were on the floor, and the rumor mill’s been strangely quiet about Capela since a report last month that he’s expected to draw heavy interest in restricted free agency.
Hearing some good news about CP3 should calm all of our anxieties just a bit as we head into this most pivotal of Rockets’ offseasons. The title window is now. Let’s hope team management can take advantage of it.