Houston has set itself up to be the most dangerous challenger to Golden State this season. With James Harden and now Chris Paul, they have a backcourt that can rival the Warriors. Houston has a system, it has shooting, and this offseason GM Daryl Morey made smart acquisitions getting wing defenders — such as Luc Mbah a Moute and P.J. Tucker — who can help against the Warriors.
Yet there are questions. Can Paul and Harden play together and share the rock? Can the other players adapt to playing around them? Can key players such as Clint Capela take a step forward? Will this team defend well enough?
With all that, the Rockets are going to wait until next summer to talk to CP3 about a new contract and being patient, Morey told Ben Golliver of Sports Illustrated.
“We’ve had high-level discussions [with Paul about his future],” Morey told The Crossover, noting that Harden’s recent $228 million extension provides a “signaling aspect” to other stars that Houston caters to its marquee players. “[Paul] hopes to continue with Houston. He likes the team, the organization and the city. In terms of him actually signing long-term, that’s something that won’t be decided until next year.”
With Ryan Anderson at three-years, $60 million left on his deal and Eric Gordon at three-years, $39.5 million, signing Paul to a max — and he will demand a max contract — would send the Rockets into the tax. The smart move is to wait and see how this season plays out, then make a call.
This is a situation where, because the team is a contender, most owners will be okay with paying the larger bill to keep the team together. However, we don’t know who the new ownership group in Houston will be, or what they will prioritize and authorize. Most likely though Morey will have permission to spend.
And if this works he will spend big on Paul (then look for savings elsewhere). Top 10 NBA talent is hard to come by.