16 Players the Houston Rockets gave up on way too soon

Houston Rockets, Goran Dragic, Kyle Lowry
Houston Rockets, Goran Dragic, Kyle Lowry / Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports
8 of 16

9.  Chris Paul

The Rockets had made playoffs four straight years, including a run to the conference finals in 2015, before trading for CP3. They wanted a co-star for James Harden so much that Houston was willing to give up seven players and a first-round pick for the legend in the 2017 offseason.

Paul was already a nine-time All-Star and one of the best point guards in NBA history, but he had to figure out how to play next to The Beard. CP3’s assists drops as the two shared the ball. He still put up monster numbers, and the Rockets were legit contenders.

They were in the conference finals in 2018 where Houston lost to the eventual champion Warriors in seven games. The Rockets were up 3-2 before Chris Paul suffered a hamstring injury that forced him to miss the final two games. CP3 staying healthy will be one of the great what-ifs in team history.

The Warriors knocked out the Rockets in the second round of the playoffs in 2019 before Chris Paul left Houston. He clashed with James Harden, and things did not work out, despite being so close to a championship in year one.

Immediately after leaving the Rockets, Chris Paul made three more All-Star appearances and even helped the Suns reach the NBA Finals in 2021. The Houston Rockets dumped Chris Paul for Russell Westbrook, and the team paid dearly for that move.