Chris Paul is considered unlikely to leave the Rockets in free agency this summer, but an agreement between the two sides may not be a done deal quite yet. According to Chris Broussard of Fox Sports (video link), there might be a little “tension” between Paul and the Rockets.
As Broussard explains, it’s widely believed that there was a mutual understanding between Paul and the Rockets last summer that the team would give him a long-term, maximum-salary contract in 2018 after he passed up on free agency in 2017 to accommodate a trade to Houston. Now, it’s not clear if the Rockets will be willing to invest on a four- or five-year max deal for CP3.
The Rockets’ new ownership could play a role in the situation too, according to Broussard, who notes that Tilman Fertitta bought the franchise from Leslie Alexander after the team acquired Paul last summer. If Houston doesn’t put a long-term max offer on the table for Paul, the club could point to that ownership change as one reason why, Broussard suggests.
While it’s possible that the Rockets and Paul may not be on entirely the same page when it comes to his next contract, I’d be surprised if the two sides don’t get there within the next week or two. After all, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported just a few days ago that Paul was expected to return to Houston and was focusing more on LeBron James‘ free agency than his own.
The situation is somewhat reminiscent of Jrue Holiday‘s and Kyle Lowry‘s free agencies last year. In those cases, neither star point guard got a true maximum-salary contract, but they both got massive near-max deals from their previous teams, who had the ability to offer them more years and higher raises than any rival suitor. I’d anticipate a similar arrangement for Paul and the Rockets.