In the months that have followed the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder’s blockbuster trade involving Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul, there hasn’t been much dialogue from the latter about the move. Instead, he has taken the approach of looking ahead this next chapter of his career with the Thunder as the new focal point of the franchise. However, Paul has recently touched upon the subject to give his true feelings about the trade.
Things fell apart with the Rockets for Chris Paul
Over the last couple of years, Paul had helped form a dynamic duo in Houston alongside former league MVP James Harden that elevated the franchise to one of the top teams in the Western Conference.
However, the Rockets were never able to get over the hump in the playoffs, with each instance seeing them fall to the Golden State Warriors. The latest postseason departure proved to be the final straw as the friction between Paul and Harden came to light over the offseason.
Shortly after that, Houston quickly made the surprising trade to move Paul in exchange for Westbrook that has given both franchises a fresh start from their respective star point guards. In the time since there hasn’t been much chatter from Paul expressing his real feeling regarding the trade until now.
Chris Paul opens up about his feelings regarding Thunder trade
In each instance that Paul has discussed the trade, he has continued to take the high road with his focus set on what he can do to help the Thunder win this season.
There was a bit of a deviation from that train of thought during a recent interview with Kevin Hart as he voiced he felt like he was stabbed in the back by the move. (h/t Dan Feldman of NBC Sports)
Hart: Do you feel like there’s been times where, “Damn, that’s a little eye-opening. I got stabbed in the back”?
Paul: Absolutely. This last situation was one of them. The GM there in Houston, he don’t owe me nothing. You know what I mean? He may tell me one thing but do another thing. But you just understand that that’s what it is.
It’s only natural for Paul to feel that way as he had inked a four-year, $159.7 million deal to stay with the franchise to play alongside Harden for the long haul. The Rockets hadn’t been that far off from being able to compete for an NBA title, and his long-term commitment was an indication that he believed that was the case.
Instead, he has been moved to a franchise that is in full rebuilding mode with their core group as he enters the back end of his illustrious career.
Chris Paul’s future with the Thunder
Paul is in the second year of his four-year deal that does have a $44.2 million player option for the 2021-22 season. Given his age, it’s hard to imagine that he would opt out of that type of money as it would be difficult to find that anywhere else at age 36.
There had been rumblings that Paul was interested in joining the Milwaukee Bucks to play alongside the reigning league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. Meanwhile, the Miami Heat were viewed as a potential trade partner to pair him with All-Star forward Jimmy Butler.
In the meantime, Paul has continued to lead the charge for the Thunder, who have struggled to find success on the floor holding a 4-7 record through the first 11 games. He is currently averaging 15.5 points, 5.5 assists, and 3.7 rebounds while shooting 45.0% from the floor and 42.6% from beyond the arc.
Things could heat up on the trade front in the coming months that may see teams like the Heat make a strong push to acquire him. Until then, Paul remains locked in with the Thunder.