Much has been made about the Chris Paul effect, which has most commonly been referred to how he has improved teams within a short timeframe. Whether it's been the LA Clippers, who he turned into a perennial contender, or the Houston Rockets, who had the best record in the NBA during Paul's first year, it's been proven that The Point God can bring teams to the cusp of title contention.
We've even seen Paul join teams like the Oklahoma City Thunder, who were written off by many of the experts and nearly defeated the Houston Rockets in the first round. Paul came the closest to delivering a title this season with the Phoenix Suns, who won just 46.6% of their games in 2019-20 and finished with the second -best record in the Western Conference, but ultimately fell short in the NBA Finals and were defeated within six games.
Former exec predict doom for Suns based on Chris Paul's Houston Rockets exit
But according to one former Phoenix Suns executive, the love fest may not last long, based on Paul's previous stints, including with the Houston Rockets, as former Suns front office member Amin Elhassan stated on Sirius XM radio.
“Holla at me in year 3. The act wears thin. It's happened everywhere he's been, except for Oklahoma City, because he wasn't there long enough.
One of his flaws is he lacks the capacity to let it slide. I've seen the trail that you've left.”
Paul and the Rockets agreed to a 4-year contract worth $160 million after the 2017-18 season, which was the obvious call, considering how he nearly lifted the team to their first title in over two decades prior to getting injured in the Western Conference Finals. But Paul struggled in his second season in the Space City, averaging just 15.6 points on 41.2% from the field (both career lows).
The Rockets were eliminated yet again by the Golden State Warriors in the 2019 playoffs, albeit in a round earlier, as the Rockets fell to the Dubs in the Western Conference Semifinals. Paul averaged 16.7 points and 5.7 assists during the series, while making just 31.4% of his threes on 5.8 attempts.
After the season ended, reports began to surface about James Harden and Paul having friction, with management reportedly being given an ultimatum of whether to keep one or the other. It had been reported that Paul wanted more ball movement and involvement within the Rockets’ offense but that Harden didn’t respond well to Paul’s suggestions.
Paul was eventually dealt to the Oklahoma City Thunder, in exchange for Russell Westbrook, and has made it known to anyone who has been interested that he didn’t expect to be dealt. Paul stated that former Rockets GM Daryl Morey promised him that he wouldn’t be moved, which added insult to injury.
Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta reportedly felt that Paul’s contract was “the worst that he had ever seen in business or sports”, which could have also played a part in Paul being dealt to the Thunder. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with Paul and where he ends up, as he has a player option of $44.2 million, which he’s reportedly expressed interest in declining, in favor of a long-term deal.
After the Suns’ Game 6 defeat in the NBA Finals, Paul stated that he was unsure of his future, as he hadn’t had time to reflect on that up to that point. There’s even been talk about the Los Angeles Lakers potentially having interest in him, which should come as no surprise, due to his close relationship with LeBron James, not to mention the fact that his family is still in the Los Angeles area.