The Houston Rockets traded a boatload of assets in a blockbuster deal for Chris Paul on Wednesday, sending Sam Dekker, Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams, DeAndre Liggins, Darrun Hilliard, Montrezl Harrell, Kyle Wiltjer, a top-three protected 2018 first-round pick, and $661,000 to Los Angeles. That’s quite a haul for a 32-year-old point guard.
And yet, the Rockets may have gotten the better end of the deal.
“All those guys, while they all bring a little something to the table, they all bring a little something to the table – just a little – and I think they’re all replaceable, too, in some shape, form or fashion,” Houston 610 host Sean Pendergast said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “The Rockets have perennially been in star-chasing mode. That they made this move is not surprising at all; it’ll be surprising if they actually don’t make another move over the next couple of weeks here. But I like the move. I think Chris Paul and James Harden are going to fit fine with each other.”
Harden averaged 29.1 points, 11.2 assists, and 8.1 rebounds per game last season, while Paul averaged 18.1 points, 9.2 assists, 5.0 rebounds, and 2.0 steals.
The Rockets will likely miss Beverley the most. He was a fan favorite known for tough, physical defense.
Then again, Paul isn’t exactly soft.
“Yeah, Beverley was a guy who was a street-fight, heartbeat kind of guy,” Pendergast said, “but Chris Paul, I think he brings some of that, and I think he’s also a guy who’s pretty respected in locker rooms. And as good a player as James Harden is, there was kind of a leadership vacuum on the team. We saw it in Game 6 (against the Spurs).”
Harden scored just 10 points in a season-ending 114-75 home loss against San Antonio in the Western Conference semifinals in May.
“He’s not a guy who is get-in-your-face, get-on-my-back,” Pendergast said of Harden. “He’s a really, really good player, and I think being able to off-load some of the leadership stuff, some of the end-of-game stuff – I think frankly off-loading just some of the minutes that James plays – onto Chris Paul is going to make a lot of sense. I think Chris Paul is an asset enough to attract a third player, which is what Daryl Morey is trying desperately to do.”