The Houston Rockets initiated their first phase of going toe to toe with the Golden State Warriors by trading for Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul. Rockets general manager Daryl Morey said that he had a plan, he wasn’t lying. The acquisition of Paul lets Rockets fans and the league know that they are serious and are just getting started.
"It's a weapons race in the NBA. You're either in the weapons race or on the sidelines." –@dmorey on Chris Paul trade…
LIVE on NBA TV! pic.twitter.com/EmuCJbt2Z8
— NBA TV (@NBATV) June 28, 2017
Houston is in the weapons race and they are looking to add even more weapons soon.
There is optimism that comes with the addition of Chris Paul. He is a premier point guard, a Hall of Famer to be. As the days go by, the optimism surrounding CP3’s arrival will increase. When trades like this occur a team always has to give up something to get a player of Paul’s caliber. The Rockets gave up their heart and soul in point guard Patrick Beverley.
— Patrick Beverley (@patbev21) June 28, 2017
Beverley is beloved in Houston, absolutely beloved. His grit, toughness and relentless hustle was something that Rockets fans knew they could always rely on. He was all grind and all hustle all the time. There had been reports that Houston was shopping Beverley for a few weeks dating back to when Morey said that he had a plan. The possibility of Beverley being moved had been real for a while but the realization that it actually happened still has the fan base a bit torn as they wrap their heads around the trade.
Sam Dekker also showed signs of developing into a nice player. I think he could have had a role similar to Chandler Parsons while he was in Houston prior to his departure to Dallas.
Beverley is a fine player. Monday's awards showed he's recognized as such. But Rockets gave up Beverley, 2 backups and a late 1st for CP3.
— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) June 28, 2017
When you break it down this way it makes a lot of sense. Even with the addition of a few more role players to make the trade match it’s still a deal that the Rockets couldn’t pass up. Patrick Beverley was named to the NBA All-Defensive 1st Team at the inaugural NBA Awards. Paul was on the first team too. He won’t bring the same frenzied, harassing, ball hawking fury that Beverley brings but he’s no slouch either. He’s also an obvious upgrade offensively overall and in late game situations. Former Houston Oilers defensive end and current co-host on The Bottom Line Sean Jones may have said it best.
“You have to die a little bit when you make a deal like this, and the Houston Rockets died a little bit today”.
That’s how the loss of Beverley made many fans feel.
There are also a few concerns about Paul as well. Fair or not he has to bear the burden of being an elite player who has never made a deep run the playoffs. In 2015, Houston added to this narrative by overcoming a 3-1 deficit in the Western Conference semifinals (even trailed by 19 points in game 6) to eliminate Paul’s Clippers. Some of the blame he receives may be excessive or beyond his control, but it comes with the territory when you are the face of a franchise and one of the best players in the game.
Fair or not, there’s also the perception of Paul’s reputation for grating or wearing down his teammates with his personality. Chemistry is a dynamic that can’t be measured but it’s something that has to be right when everyone steps on the court. Will Paul and James Harden click? That remains to be seen.
Chris Paul and James Harden were determined to play together, and found a way with Rockets-Clippers trade agreed upon today.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) June 28, 2017
The hope is that this determination persists all season long. There’s no doubt that the conversations that the two of them have had included their chemistry and being able to vibe together. All of the questions that we are asking have already been discussed because they know it has to work.
I would assume another move by the Rockets is forthcoming.
— Calvin Watkins (@calvinwatkins) June 28, 2017
There’s the reason for allowing the optimism to continue. Acquiring Chris Paul is a big move but it’s not going to be the only big move. This is the catalyst, phase one if you will.
One thing is for sure…. @dmorey doesn't get into the batter's box looking to draw a walk. He's always swinging from his heels.
— Lance Zierlein (@LanceZierlein) June 28, 2017
Visions of Chris Paul in a Rockets uniform this fall has generated lots of buzz and excitement. As the summer continues and the start of the season gets closer the excitement will continue to rise and rightfully so. Couple that with the next big star that joins the Rockets (possibly Carmelo Anthony or Paul George) and the optimism will be sky-high.
The time to load up and go at the Warriors is now. Amass talent or die trying. That’s the Morey way.