Way back in the run up to free agency — just a few weeks ago on a calendar but a seeming lifetime ago on the NBA clock — the biggest question of the summer was “Will the Clippers pay up to keep both Chris Paul and Blake Griffin? Is Steve Ballmer willing to pay all that tax for a team that hasn’t gotten out of the second round?”
Paul answered that question for them — he decided he was going to Houston to play with James Harden, and the Clippers could either trade him and get something back or lose him for nothing. The Clippers did better than should have been expected in a shotgun trade, but the decision had been made.
Paul said that the trade was good for him and for the Clippers, speaking to Marc Spears of The Undefeated at ESPN.
“I feel like the last six years we’ve had a great run. I felt like it was not only a good time for change for me, but for the team, too. Everyone says, ‘We get killed. We can’t get there. We just can’t get over the hurdle.’ I felt like it was time for change.
CP3 reiterated that the reason for the move was not his relationship with Austin Rivers, it was wanting to play with Harden after being recruited by The Beard.
Just how excited he would be about the opportunity. It showed a lot of selflessness. The fact that it’s all about winning. We talked, obviously, he had a great year last year. Everything was about winning games. … He just said he wants to win.
What Paul says in this interview is the stuff that gets glossed over by media and fans as we focus on how Paul and Harden will fit together on the court and what it means for the Clippers playoff hopes — this was a difficult move for him personally. His son cried when he got the news they were moving. Paul has deep ties to both Clippers fans and charities in the Los Angeles area. He’s uprooting a family and moving them halfway across the country — that factors into the decision. This isn’t just about money and rings, players are people with families and lives outside of basketball, and like the rest of us switching jobs is difficult and disrupting, even if it’s the right thing.
Go read the entire story, it’s worth it.