Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey says Chris Paul has not requested a trade, despite a report from ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith saying the point guard wanted out.
Legendary head coach and current Miami Heat president Pat Riley is famous for saying that in the NBA, there’s winning and then there’s misery. After failing once again to topple the Golden State Warriors in the postseason, the Rockets seem to be living in misery.
The tension between Chris Paul and James Harden came to a head after the Rockets were eliminated in Game 6 of the Western Conference Semifinals. The two had heated verbal exchanges, as Chris Paul wanted Houston to run more set plays, but Harden preferred to handle the ball and play one-on-one, according to a Rockets source that spoke with ESPN’s Tim MacMahon.
Last Friday, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith reported that he’s been hearing rumblings about Paul wanting out of Houston, further solidifying the rumored rift between Houston’s two stars.
However, Smith’s claims are likely exaggerated or completely untrue. While talking on ESPN Radio’s Golic & Wingo, Daryl Morey made it clear that Paul has not asked the Rockets for a trade, and said any tensions between Harden and Paul are just frustration, according to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon.
“No. No, he has not. We have two high-level competitors, Chris and James, who their only goal in life at this point is to win the title. They’ve accomplished everything else, they are both going to be first-ballot Hall of Famers. Two competitive superstars at that level, there’s going to be times when they are extremely competitive, extremely focused on how do we get to that next level, and when we don’t there’s going to be frustration. I’m frustrated, our top players are frustrated, Mike D’Antoni is frustrated. We want to take the last step and be the champion and I think it’s good that there is tension in the sense that we all want to win.”
It’s good to here from Morey himself that Paul has not requested a trade. Of course, that doesn’t mean that Paul won’t be moved for the right deal, however, Morey has repeatedly stated that Paul will be back in Houston next season.
It sounds like whatever tension is between Harden and Paul has been blown out of proportion by some media members. It isn’t uncommon for stars to clash in the heat of the moment. Draymond Green and Kevin Durant got into an argument after losing to the Clippers back in March, when Green reportedly hurled expletives at Durant and dared the two-time Finals MVP to leave in free agency. The Warriors even suspended Green a game for his behavior.
However, the Warriors patched things up in the locker room and still reached the NBA Finals, despite losing KD in the Western Conference Semifinals.
The argument that took place between Paul and Harden doesn’t appear to be that extreme, nor does it sound like any personal insults were exchanged. The two will cool off over the summer and continue on with business as usual.