Adrian Wojnarowski from Yahoo Sports broke the news yesterday that Chris Paul will be joining James Harden and the Rockets in a deal that will send Lou Williams, Patrick Beverley, Sam Dekker, DeAndre Liggins, Darrun Hilliard, Montrezl Harrell, Kyle Wiltjer, and a 2018 top 3 protected first round pick. With free agency starting in a couple of days, this was the second big firework to go off. Rumors have already started swirling that maybe Paul George, Serge Ibaka, or Paul Millsap could be joining the Rockets to form a new Big 3.
Gotta give credit to GM Morey and company for making the biggest move of the offseason so far. While Jimmy Butler to the Timberwolves could have an argument, adding Jimmy Butler doesn’t make a team that was 16 games below .500 and championship contender. The Rockets now boast two of the best playmakers in the league and reports are that they are interested in adding another piece.
The Rockets know that even with their high prolific offense last year, it won’t be enough to compete with the likes of Golden State, Cleveland, and San Antonio in a 7 game playoff series. A lot of people are concerned about having two ball dominant players in Chris Paul and James Harden sharing the same offense, but usually the case with two great players is that with time they’ll learn how how to play off each other. This combo isn’t nearly as awkward as the Miami duo of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, but probably won’t be as seamless a transition as Kevin Durant joining the Warriors.
Breaking: #Rockets are going to play with two basketballs in '17-18
— Doug Gottlieb (@GottliebShow) June 28, 2017
Both Paul and and specifically James Harden can play off the ball and this move will in particular help Harden improve his shot selection to take higher percentage shots. It will also help the Rockets improve when Harden sits. Being pretty much the only playmaker on the team last year, Paul will pick up the slack as I’m sure Mike D’antoni will stagger their minutes to a degree. If the Rockets can add maybe a Paul George, look out Golden State. Especially with the news today that Andre Iguodala might take the money and go elsewhere, Rockets fans have reason to be excited.
Most teams are thinking about tearing it down and waiting out the Warriors, so shout out to the Rockets for having a pair of nuts and trying to go for it.
Free Agency is still alive and well and the Clippers have some serious work to do if they want to compete in 2018. While DeAndre Jordan is still under contract through the 2018-2019 season with a player option, the big decision the Clippers still have on the table is whether or not to re-sign Blake Griffin.
There was always noise out of Los Angeles about the chemistry of the Clippers and it remains to be seen whether or not Griffin wants out. With Chris Paul saying goodbye to Los Angeles and JJ Reddick already announcing that he has no plans on returning, the Clippers will have plenty of new players to watch this year.
Assuming Griffin resigns, you could be looking at a projected starting lineup of:
PG Austin Rivers
SG Patrick Beverley
SF Sam Dekker
PF Blake Griffin
C DeAndre Jordan
Doc is right — Clippers got great return for a guy who was out the door. https://t.co/Q56I4yZHK0
— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) June 29, 2017
Not the worst, but probably looking at a team in the 6-11 range of the Western Conference standings. The Clippers would need to surround Griffin and Jordan with more shooting which could be a problem because their GM and Head Coach Doc Rivers basically gave away all their draft picks for players who are no longer there. With no assets and an already explosive salary cap issue, they really can’t get much better. Never a good idea to let a head coach also control the roster decisions.
I think the Clippers should look to tear this down. While they have players under contract, they need to replenish those picks. Sam Decker and Patrick Beverley are nice players on great contracts under control for a couple of years. Trading DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin could set up the Clippers to compete in a couple of years. With the new stadium being built and Big Baller Steve Ballmer, they need some new young talent to get everyone excited again about Clipper Basketball.
Cover Photo Via SB Nation