Could Houston Rockets reunite with a future Hall of Famer this summer?

A former Houston Rockets guard could hit the open market this summer
A former Houston Rockets guard could hit the open market this summer / Amanda Loman/GettyImages

It isn't easy to part amicably. Parting hurts. An ending is definitive and can be difficult to face in any context.

With that said, some NBA divorces are messier than others. Sometimes, a player and team simply no longer have compatible futures. Other times, the team's owner says that the player has "the worst contract in sports history".

There's burning a bridge, and then there's dropping a nuclear bomb on it. That's what Tilman Fertitta did when the Houston Rockets traded Chris Paul to the Thunder. There's no way Paul could find himself back to Space City.


Houston Rockets rivals have a lot to think about

Let's remove emotion from the equation. Paul's contract has a team option this summer. His Golden State Warriors just wrapped up a tremendously disappointing season. In all likelihood, they're open to a range of possibilities.

Surely, some of those possibilities include life without Paul. The Warriors could outright decline his option and have him hit the open market. The Rockets could easily create enough cap space to sign him at market value in that event.

Granted, the Warriors would prefer to trade Paul. That may be possible. A team that's prioritizing the distant future may want his soon-to-expire contract. If the Warriors attached some draft capital, they could bring back an impact player.

Yet, it's hard to identify that player. Do the Warriors want to add a long-term contract like Jerami Grant or Kyle Kuzma to their books? Do either of those players move the needle enough to justify surrendering assets? Are there alternative options?

Perhaps. Let's frame it this way: the Warriors would prefer to get value for Paul if they can. There may or may not be a deal on the table that's worth attaching assets for.

Should the Rockets want Paul if there isn't?

Houston Rockets could use Chris Paul


No, Paul isn't the same superstar that nearly co-led the Rockets to the NBA Finals. He's still more impactful than Aaron Holiday. Paul lapped the Rockets' reserve in Value Over Replacement Player (VORP) last season at 1.2 vs 0.2.

Largely, that's because Paul remains a crafty playmaker. He averaged 9.3 assists per 75 possessions in 2023-24. By contrast, Holiday averaged 4.0.

So, Paul could fill Holiday's role in spacing the floor and playing high-effort defense while adding an extra wrinkle of playmaking. That would be vital for a Rockets team whose 59.4 assist percentage ranked 27th in the NBA last year.

If Paul can overlook Fertitta's slight, that is.

Houston Rockets reunion is unlikely

The worst contract in professional sports history.

That is severe. You wouldn't likely get back together with an ex who said you were the worst person in the history of people. If you would, we're going to recommend extensive therapy.

Besides, Paul will have suitors if he's available. He's still impactful, and at his age, he'll receive a contract that plenty of teams could justify paying. If Paul lands in Texas this summer, we're more likely to see him suiting up alongside Victor Wembanyama with the Spurs.

Those are the consequences of such a messy divorce.