Houston Rockets Rumors: The ‘true’ reason Chris Paul will be in town

Mar 25, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul (3) in the second half of the game against the Utah Jazz at Staples Center. Clippers won 108-95. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 25, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul (3) in the second half of the game against the Utah Jazz at Staples Center. Clippers won 108-95. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /

The Houston Rockets have been off for nearly a month now and things are going to start heating up as we head toward the draft and eventually free agency starting July 1.

As with any off season with Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey at the helm, expect the franchise to be quite active throughout.  Morey has the mantra of never being satisfied with the product that he has and feels there’s always room for improvement.

To be honest, that’s the way all general managers should feel.  They shouldn’t settle — but aim for the exosphere and hope for the best.  Did anybody think that we’d be able to land Ryan Anderson, Eric Gordon and Nene Hilario to not only make a valuable contribution to a successful 55-win season but to rejuvenate their careers as well?

Other than Houston Rockets faithful, there weren’t many out there that thought the Houston Rockets were going to have the type of remarkable season that they had.  But it happened and we made a lot of experts eat crow as there was no precipitous drop-off but continuity of getting the “W’s” on a regular basis.

With that being said, don’t ever underestimate the talent of Morey and his “go-getter” mentality to build this team into a championship contender.

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But here were are, two weeks away from free agency opening and we have our latest nugget on the rumor mill.

What’s going on?

According to Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times, superstar point guard Chris Paul will reportedly visit the Rockets while doing his rounds with the San Antonio Spurs and the Denver Nuggets.  This is an intriguing development because I’ve actually thought how this team would look with CP3 in Rockets Red.  Can he and James Harden co-exist?  Absolutely.  But will it happen?  Likely not.

For starters, it’s no secret that Paul is being wooed by the Spurs and there going to clear the racks to ensure he gets the royal treatment when he visits Alamo City.  He’d be a nice fit with them as their point guard options could be limited with the uncertainty of Tony Parker‘s health moving forward and the not-so-ready look of Patty Mills running the offense.  Their needs are clear.

But how about ours?  By moving Harden to the “points” guard role — a Mike D’Antoni special — he had the most prolific season of his career, one that’s on the cusp of being something great and a lot that’s still unwritten as we speak.  With Patrick Beverley being able to play alongside Harden with incredible lockstep, there’s no need to bring in a blockbuster guard but one that can backup and get the job done.

This is Harden’s team — whether you like or not — and bringing Paul in would cause him to defer and I’m not sure that’s something the Beard wants to do.  But it terms of offensive productivity, this team would be off the charts as far as the numbers.  But with the salary cap expected to only increase modestly from $94.1 million to $101 million for 2017-18, the team would not be able to sign him outright.

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The Rockets, even if they rid themselves of the contracts of Nene, Bobby Brown and Troy Williams, they’d have close to $20 million to shop with.  That’s not going to be enough for Paul, who according to Turner, is eligible to receive the max of a five-year deal worth $205 million with the Los Angeles Clippers but only four-years, $152M with any other team.  With an annual salary that’s within the range of about $40M per, that’s just not going to happen in H-Town.  It’s insane how the salary cap has escalated!

The Clips would have to facilitate a sign-and-trade to make it happen and you’d have to include Anderson, Gordon and Trevor Ariza just to make the deal work.  Do you see what I mean?  It’s not happening ya’ll and I honestly think Paul is testing the market and then file them with the Clippers.  But it makes it nice to dream for a bit as far as how things would look around here with him around.

You better believe Morey is going to make a hell of a sales pitch and make an offer he can’t refuse.  HE WILL SWING FOR THE FENCES.

Next: What the Rockets need to compete with the Warriors

Now let’s snap back to reality.

Paul, 32, averaged 18.1 points and 9.2 assists off 47.6 percent shooting from the field and a 41.1 percent clip from behind-the-arc through 61 games in 2016-17.

Go Rockets.