Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta was reportedly one of the leading forces in the Rockets’ decision to trade Chris Paul for Russell Westbrook.
When the Houston Rockets acquired Chris Paul in 2017, the move was met with instant skepticism. Many wondered whether Paul and James Harden would be able to co-exist schematically, as both players had been accustomed to being the focal point of the offense and having the ball in their hands.
But Paul’s insertion into the Rockets’ lineup was a seamless one, as the Rockets posted a 65-17 record, which was the best in franchise history and also the best record in the NBA. The Rockets came within a Paul injury of reaching the NBA Finals and likely winning the NBA title, which remains one of the biggest what-if’s in franchise history.
With Paul’s contract having expired, the Rockets were forced to work out a new deal, as he exercised his player option in 2017 to allow the Rockets to acquire him, as opposed to opting out and forcing them to figure out a way to pay him upon acquiring him. The Rockets had to reward Paul for helping them, which was likely what was promised at the time he made the decision.
Paul received a four-year deal worth $160 million, which he had proven to be worth during the Rockets’ 2018 Western Conference Finals series against the Golden State Warriors, as the Rockets weren’t able to advance without him. Paul’s second season in the Space City wasn’t nearly as successful, as he regressed to the tune of 15.6 points on 41.9 percent from the field, which were both career-lows.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, there was much more to the situation, which reportedly involved Rockets’ owner Tilman Fertitta.
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