Report: Chris Paul wants out of Houston
NBA.com Global on Jun 19, 2019 07:15 AM
HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 22: James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets and Chris Paul #3 of the Houston Rockets celebrate against the Miami Heat on January 22, 2018 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)
NBA.com staff report
The Houston Rockets have major decisions to make this offseason, especially if the latest reports from Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo! Sports are true.
According to Goodwill, the dynamic between Rockets stars James Harden and Chris Paul has become "unsalvageable" after a difficult season in Houston.
The relationship reportedly reached the point where Paul demanded a trade and Harden issued a "him or me" ultimatum after the Rockets' second-round loss to the Golden State Warriors.
Rockets general manager Daryl Morey has refuted the report and says Paul will be on the Rockets' roster next season, according to Houston Chronicle beat reporter Jonathan Feigen.
"A thoroughly exasperated Daryl Morey said Chris Paul and his reps have never asked to trade him and he will be on Rockets next season," Feigen wrote on Twitter. "Said he and Harden do not have issues with one another and that he has spoken to both often this off-season about free agency evaluations, plans."
Morey gave an example: Said he had Harden and Paul on face time with him as they discussed 50 free agents together. Said he has spoken to both players quite a few times since the season with no indications either has changed their stance. https://t.co/bnBJH6zt0J— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) June 18, 2019
Paul responded to the news on Instagram, writing "Damn! That's news to me..." in the comments of a post from Bleacher Report.
Here's more from Goodwill on the reported problems in Houston:
The backcourt mates went nearly two months without speaking to each other during the season, sources said, creating a tenuous environment for teammates and everyone involved with the franchise.
Harden hasn’t returned Paul’s repeated attempts at communicating this offseason, sources said, after a year in which the pair repeatedly got under each other’s skin with petty acts in practices and games.
“There’s no respect at all, on either side,” a source told Yahoo Sports. “They need to get away from one another. Chris doesn’t respect James’ standing in the league, and James doesn’t respect the work Chris has put in to this point.”
Goodwill's report follows up other offseason trade rumblings surrounding Paul and the Rockets, but Morey continues to insist that both sides are fine and will work towards adding another star.
.@SeanUnfiltered: "Does Chris Paul want to be traded?"@dmorey: "No, Chris Paul does not want to be traded."@SeanUnfiltered: "Will you field calls on Chris Paul?"@dmorey: "No, we want to add one more star to this team."— SportsTalk 790 (@SportsTalk790) June 17, 2019
If the Rockets did decide to trade Paul, they may have a difficult time finding a trade partner. The 34-year old guard reportedly is due to make $38.5 million, $41.3 million and $44.2 million over the next three seasons, which would be a lot of salary for another team to absorb in a trade.
Paul -- who missed 24 regular season games due to injury -- finished the 2018-19 season with averages of 15.6 points, 8.2 assists, 4.6 rebounds and 2.0 steals.