It seems as though with every passing week of the NBA offseason comes another blockbuster trade. Last week, Jimmy Butler got dealt to the Minnesota Timberwolves and this week Chris Paul has been traded to the Houston Rockets. For both the Rockets and Clippers, this trade will shape the immediate future of both teams. Let’s breakdown this blockbuster deal.
Los Angeles was always going to lose Chris Paul. According to reports, Paul had informed Clippers management that he intended on signing with the Rockets during free agency this summer. With the Clippers not wanting to let their franchise point guard walk, for obvious reason, the Rockets along with the Clippers, got to work on figuring out a trade. For starters, Chris Paul did Los Angeles a massive favor by agreeing to opt-in to his contract and in return, the Clippers agreed to trade him, which helps both sides.
The return Los Angeles received in the deal was quite intriguing. Patrick Beverley immediately fills the point guard position for the team and, although he does not posses the same star power as Paul, the 2017 Hustle Award winner is a very solid floor general. Adding Beverley also means the Clippers still have an elite defender at the point guard position.
Lou Williams will also make a return to LA as a part of the trade. This past season, Williams split time with the Lakers and of course, Houston Rockets. In 58 games with the Lakers, the former Sixth Man of the Year winner averaged 18 points per game. Williams’ points per game may have dropped slightly in Houston however, he was a large part of the Rockets post trade deadline success. It remains to be seen where the Clippers will play Lou Williams however, he can be regarded as a great starter but, at his best when coming off the bench as a high energy scorer. Either way, Williams can log big minutes.
Sam Dekker could prove to be a big question mark for the Clippers. Thus far in his NBA career, Dekker has not fully lived up to the expectations thrust upon him after a successful college career. However, that could change very soon. While a member of the Rockets, the former Wisconsin Badger struggled to get minutes but, if given an opportunity, he may thrive. Optimism is key for this portion of the trade.
Elsewhere in the Clippers organization you can guarantee everyone is feeling the impact of this trade. Both JJ Reddick as well as Blake Griffin are set to be free agents. While Griffin is likely to be the more valuable player to the Clippers, both players certainly want to win the big one at this point in their careers. Although their current team can offer them big money, can they really realistically sell Reddick and or Griffen that the opportunity to win a championship with the Clippers still exists? Lastly, DeAndre Jordan is also likely feeling the impact of the recent trade. It kind of makes you wonder if DeAndre knew that Chris Paul would eventually leave maybe he would have actually signed with the Dallas Mavericks.
Houston Rockets' management is likely very excited about this deal. Although the team had to give up a significant amount to get him, Chris Paul may just be worth it. Adding an elite level point guard such as the former All-Star may be just what Houston needs to beat the Golden State Warriors. Also, although the Rockets had to give up one of their best defenders in Patrick Beverley, Chris Paul was recently named to the All-Defensive First Team.
There are some concerns however, about how Paul will fit in with James Harden. It was evident last year that Harden was at his best when the ball was in his hands and he was running the offense. Although the 2017 MVP finalists assists numbers will likely go down, Harden's scoring will likely stay the same or, it could increase. Chris Paul is a pass first point guard which, many members of the Rockets will benefit from. Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon, we’re looking at you.
With another blockbuster deal complete, another threat has emerged in the Western Conference. This also may not be the end of the Rockets moves. If Wednesday’s deal was any indication, the Rockets are not afraid to go all in on their pursuit of NBA Championship glory. Free agency is still a few days away however, the offseason action has already begun.