Houston Rockets: Why Chris Paul could be a one-season rental

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - APRIL 23: Chris Paul /

Unless he can win his first championship this season, Chris Paul may be a one year rental for the Houston Rockets.

After reading the headline, I know what most Houston Rockets fans are thinking, “Oh God, another Steven A. Smith wanna be doubting that James Harden and Chris Paul cannot co-exist on the same floor.”

Well actually, I am not.

Regardless of the headline, I do believe that that Harden and Paul will work together this season. So much so, I do believe that this duo will become the second-best back court in the league.

Unfortunately, while thinking about the free agency class of 2018, it’s hard to imagine Paul playing more than one season with the Houston Rockets.

When the Houston Rockets made the trade to acquire the nine-time all-star, they did it in hopes of resigning Paul in 2018. So technically, Paul is only making a one-year commitment to the Houston Rockets and is set to become a free agent next summer.

Unless there is a catastrophic injury to their top two stars, one can assume that the Houston Rockets will possess the second or third best record in the NBA next season.

And taking into consideration that they have enough to get past Oklahoma City Thunder‘s new one-two punch (Paul George & Russell Westbrook), Paul may finally get the opportunity to play in his first career Conference Finals.

However, will losing to the Golden State Warriors in five games be enough to keep Paul around? The answer will probably be no.

At 32-years old, the old cliche, “Just give it one more year,” isn’t going to cut it. Paul is heading towards the twilight phases of his career, and the pressure of winning a title is growing with every passing season.

Yet alone a career where he never advanced past the Western Conference Semifinals.

Here’s a quote from Paul that resonates his thoughts about teaming up with Harden:


Since Paul opted into his current contract at the time of the trade, it allows the Houston Rockets to offer him the full five-year $205 million max deal come next summer. And that will play a huge role in keeping one of the NBA’s greatest floor generals in Houston.

On the other hand, Paul’s competitive fire may overshadow his love for money.

Over the past five years, we have seen multiple stars like Dwight Howard and Kevin Durant take less money to put themselves in a better situation to win.

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No disrespect to Houston, but the Rockets do not provide Paul with the best chance at winning a title in the rugged Western Conference.

At least for the moment.

So if not the Rockets then who? Perhaps the one team that can steal Paul away are the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Despite the trade that sent Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics, the Cavaliers are still favorites in the East. And with rumors swirling about another possible LeBron James departure, Cavs general manager, Kobe Altman, will do everything in his power to keep James come the summer of 2018.

Plus, what better way to keep the King happy than to sign one of his closest friends in the league?

Earlier this year, both LeBron and Paul flirted with the possibility of playing with each other and the rest of the Banana Boat buddies. And if Dwyane Wade is bought out by the Chicago Bulls, the Cavaliers may already have half of the crew in Cleveland by the time Paul enters free agency next summer.

Joining LeBron and Wade in Cleveland would give Paul his best shot at winning a title in the weak Eastern Conference.

The one thing that can save Paul’s career in Houston is for the Rockets to successfully make a move for Carmelo Anthony.

Yes, since the Rockets acquired the Clippers’ all-time leader in assists, Anthony has expressed his desire to play in Houston. But unless Daryl Morey can find a suitor for Ryan Anderson‘s contract, Melo’s chances of playing in Houston is starting to feel more like a dream scenario than a reality.

Next: FIVE BOLD predictions for the 2017-18 season

It’s the championship or bust for Rockets or Paul starts to think about his financial situation after his playing days are done and chases the dollars elsewhere.  The CP3 experience may only be around for one lonely season in Houston.