This definitely isn’t a good look for the Houston Rockets.
As the Rockets continue to move on in the post-Chris Paul era with the duo of James Harden and Russell Westbrook, the former Rockets guard revealed a bombshell during an interview with Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated — that Houston GM Daryl Morey told him a couple of days prior to his trade to the Oklahoma City Thunder that he would not be traded.
“My initial reaction?” Paul said with a laugh. “I was shocked. Truth be told, I just talked to Daryl a couple days before the trade and he said he wasn’t going to trade me [to Oklahoma City]. That’s funny because that is going to be the alert that pops up on everybody’s phone because nobody knows that. But what the hell, I just said it.
During the month of July, Paul had been linked in a trade involving Westbrook. The Rockets managed to finally pull off the trade — without a championship contender involved. The Miami Heat had been the popular team linked to Paul, meaning the veteran guard could at least by acquired by a playoff-caliber team.
However, that didn’t exactly transpire, and Paul is instead playing for the Thunder — an 8-11 squad with little chance of making the postseason.
Daryl Morey Doesn’t Deny Claim
Although Morey didn’t directly respond to the claim that Paul made, Spears notes that Paul’s understanding of Morey’s message may have been misinterpreted as the Rockets GM apparently told Paul that there was a “slim chance” he would be traded.
“Morey declined comment on Paul, saying he was told he wouldn’t be traded to the Thunder, but sources close to the Rockets say Morey told Paul days before the trade there was a “slim chance” he could be dealt to the Thunder and that message may have been misinterpreted. Morey had hoped the Thunder would add a third team, preferably the Miami Heat, where Paul could land on a playoff contender. But no other team joined the Paul-Westbrook deal.”
Morey Compliment Paul for His Impact in Houston
While Morey did refuse to refute the claim that Paul made about Morey’s “lie,” the Rockets general manager did make sure to give credit to the former All-Star guard, saying he led Houston to the best years that the franchise has experienced since Hakeem Olajuwon played for the franchise.
“Chris got us as close to winning a title as we’ve been since Hakeem Olajuwon,” he said. “He was a great Rocket. I wish him the best going forward. I am a big fan of Chris. I have nothing but love for him.”
Paul makes sure to stress that he’s not upset and that he is playing for the Thunder — despite the fact that it appears that the 34-year-old guard will end his career without achieving his ultimate goal — an NBA title.
With all of that said, this is a cold reminder that the NBA is a business — no matter what your general manager or boss may tell you, any player in this league can and will be traded if that particular franchise feels like it’ll make their franchise better.