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As anticipated, point guard Chris Paul remained with the Houston Rockets. Paul signed a four-year maximum contract worth $160 million to pursue his first NBA title.
Paul confirmed the move on his Twitter account, tweeting “unfinished business… run it back.” He was referring to Rockets’ run to the Western Conference Finals where they took the Golden State Warriors to seven games. Unfortunately, he suffered a hamstring injury in Game 5 and was sidelined for the last two games of the series.
The Rockets were leading the series, 3-2, but the Warriors took the next two games. The Rockets had a chance to win it in Game 7, but they missed 27 straight three-pointers, allowing the Warriors to escape with the win.
The deal will keep the Rockets’ starting backcourt of Paul and reigning Most Valuable Player James Harden signed through the 2022-23 season. While Paul never considered leaving the Rockets in free agency, league sources say there was tension about the length of his new contract.
The 33-year-old Paul was eligible to sign a five-year maximum contract, but the Rockets took his age and injury problems into consideration. Paul missed least 20 games in each of the past two seasons due to different injuries.
Paul Acquired Via Trade With Clippers
The Rockets acquired Paul via trade with the Los Angeles Clippers last season. It shipped Lou Williams, Patrick Beverley, and a first-round pick to the Clippers for the veteran point guard. Despite paying a heavy price, the Rockets’ move paid dividends on the first year as they finished the regular season with a 65-17 record.
The Rockets also ended Paul’s pursuit of a conference finals appearance. In his first 13 years in the league, Paul could only reach the second round of the playoffs four times, once with the New Orleans Hornets and three times with the Clippers.
Last season, Paul averaged 18.6 points, 5.4 rebounds and 7.9 assists per game in 58 games. In his career, Paul is averaging 18.7 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 9.8 assists in 892 games.
Rockets To Focus On Clint Capela
Aside from Paul, the Rockets also kept key swingman Gerald Green via a one-year deal worth $2.4 million. Last season, Green averaged 12.1 points per game off the bench.
With Paul and Green signed, the Rockets will focus on signing center Clint Capela to a long-term deal. Capela became a restricted free agent after the Rockets had extended him a $4.7 million qualifying offer. Last season, Capela averaged 13.9 points and 10.8 boards in 74 games.
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