Chris Paul felt like it was time for both him and the Los Angeles Clippers to part ways.
Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, J.J. Redick, who’s leaving and who’s staying? That was the question leading into the summer of 2017. If there was one team in the NBA that was likely to break up its core group of players, it was the Los Angeles Clippers.
From a former owner who made racist remarks to Blake Griffin punching a team staffer to season-ending injuries that derailed promising postseason runs to blown 3-1 series leads in the playoffs; it started to become painfully obvious that for whatever reason this team just couldn’t rise to greatness.
The L.A. Clippers seemed to always garner media attention for all of the wrong reasons, and it was fitting that they played it Hollywood.
Recognizing that things just weren’t going to work out in L.A., Paul became eager to chase a new challenge in Houston. He told The Undefeated’s Marc J. Spears that is was time for a change.
I feel like the last six years we’ve had a great run. I felt like it was not only a good time for change for me, but for the team, too. Everyone says, ‘We get killed. We can’t get there. We just can’t get over the hurdle.’ I felt like it was time for change.
Chris changed everything in L.A.
When Chris went to L.A. in the 2011-12 season, he changed everything for the Clippers. A season before Paul’s arrival, the Clippers finished with a 32-50 record, or a .390 win percentage. After CP3 was handed the keys to the Clipper’s offense, they won at least .600 percent of their games for six consecutive seasons.
Chris changed the culture of the ball club and what it meant to play for the Clippers. For over a decade Kobe Bryant and the Lakers ran a monopoly in L.A. and the Clippers were the red-headed step-child, no one paid any attention to them. But CP3 helped make the team respectable and then turned them into a team that you couldn’t miss. Who knew when a member of Lob City would posterize another victim only to be replayed on Sports Center’s Top 10?
Chris wants to be remembered as a champion
Highlights and razzle-dazzle sell tickets, but they don’t win championships. The legends that are forever inked in the basketball record books were winners. Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Oscar Robertson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan were all great individual talents, but they’re synonymous with greatness because they won multiple championships too.
At 32 years old, Paul’s once wide open window to compete for championships will soon begin to close. Father Time is undefeated. As Paul said, the move was nothing personal with the guys in L.A., it’s just that The Beard and the Rockets are on the rise, and the Clips were stagnating.
“It had nothing to do with who was in L.A., but more to do with who was in Houston.
By now, Paul knows that Houston doesn’t need him to be great in the regular season to finish high in the standings, the Rockets won 55 games last year with one All-Star in a stacked Western Conference. Houston needs a healthy Chris Paul to lead them in the postseason. In a conference where Golden State swept the West last season and teams like Minnesota and Oklahoma City have retooled with superstar talent, the Western Conference is as stacked as it has been.
Postseason success is where the legends separate themselves from mere superstars, and CP3’s move to Houston tells us which side he’s aiming for.
Read Chris Paul’s full interview with The Undefeated’s Marc J. Spears here.