CHICAGO – Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta was bellyaching about Chris Paul‘s contract (three years, $124,076,442 remaining). Houston traded two first-round picks and two first-round pick swaps just to go from Paul to Russell Westbrook. The Thunder appeared to prioritize the picks far more than Paul, whom they were reportedly willing to flip to his preferred destination.
It’s quite the resurgence for the 34-year-old who’d missed the last three All-Star games.
Here are the oldest players ever to make an All-Star team after not being an All-Star the prior three seasons:
Of the players older than Paul on that list, Dirk Nowitzki was placed into the All-Star game by the commissioner, and Michael Jordan came out of retirement after missing three seasons. Only Johnny Green kept grinding before breaking back through.
Feeling revitalized, Paul – in his 15th season – doesn’t sound anywhere near retirement.
“Especially the way that my body feels now, I definitely probably at least want to play at least 20 years,” Paul said.
That’s ambitious. Just seven players have played at least 20 NBA seasons:
- Vince Carter (22)
- Dirk Nowitzki (21)
- Kevin Garnett (21)
- Kevin Willis (21)
- Robert Parish (21)
- Kobe Bryant (20)
- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (20)
So much can go wrong this late into a player’s career.
But by raising his game, Paul gives himself more runway to decline and remain a viable NBA player. He at least has a chance, which is far more than most players can say at his age.