Chris Paul

Contract Details: CP3, MCW, Nurkic, Anderson

The Rockets‘ four-year max deal for Chris Paul includes a player option in year four, according to Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). While that added detail on CP3’s new agreement with Houston is interesting, the possibility of an opt-out probably won’t be a factor in 2021 when a decision is due. Paul will be 36 years old when he has to decide on that $44MM+ option, so he seems unlikely to turn it down.

Pincus has several more specific details on recently-signed contracts, so let’s round them up…

  • Michael Carter-Williams‘ one-year, minimum-salary contract with the Rockets isn’t fully guaranteed. The deal, worth $1,757,429 in total, has a $1.2MM partial guarantee for now (Twitter link).
  • The Trail Blazers‘ agreement with Jusuf Nurkic can be worth up to $54MM, but has a base value of $48MM, with $6MM in unlikely incentives. The fourth and final year is also currently only partially guaranteed for $4MM (Twitter link).
  • Kyle Anderson‘s new four-year contract with the Grizzlies features a 15% trade kicker (Twitter link).
  • Bruce Brown (Pistons) and Keita Bates-Diop (Timberwolves) got three-year, minimum-salary deals with two guaranteed seasons from their respective teams (Twitter link).
  • Of the two-way contracts signed so far this offseason, Billy Preston‘s deal with the Cavaliers is the only one confirmed to be for two years rather than just one (Twitter link).

Chris Paul Signs Four-Year Max Deal With Rockets

JULY 8: The new contract with Paul is official, the Rockets announced on Twitter.

JUNE 30: The Rockets will lock up Chris Paul to a long-term deal, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who reports (via Twitter) that the All-Star point guard has agreed to a four-year, maximum-salary contract with Houston.

As our breakdown of max salaries for 2018/19 shows, a four-year max for Paul should be worth $159,730,592.

Paul turned in a stellar season in his first year in Houston, dispelling any concerns about his ability to mesh with James Harden. Paul averaged 18.6 points and 7.9 assists and helped the Rockets post the NBA’s best record at 65-17. However, he suffered a hamstring injury late in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals and missed the last two games as Houston fell to the Warriors.

The big payday for Paul comes a year after he bypassed free agency and opted in to the final year of his $24.6MM contract to help facilitate a trade from the Clippers to the Rockets. At the time, there was a belief that CP3 and the Rockets had a general understanding that the team would take care of him when he eventually reached unrestricted free agency.

That turned out to be the case, though the 33-year-old was eligible for a full max contract over five seasons, so Houston got a bit of a break with a four-year deal.

With Paul locked up, the Rockets will now shift their focus to retaining key contributors like Clint Capela and Luc Mbah a Moute. If Houston re-signs Capela to a lucrative new deal, team salary figures to exceed the luxury tax threshold for 2018/19.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Amick’s Latest: CP3, Rockets, Kawhi, Cavs, George

There’s a “strong sense in Rockets circles” that Chris Paul isn’t go anywhere this offseason as a free agent, writes Sam Amick of USA Today. While a recent report from Chris Broussard of Fox Sports hinted at possible tension between Paul and the Rockets, Amick spoke to two sources with knowledge of the situation who disputed the idea that there’s any friction there.

Broussard’s report suggested that there might be a disparity between what sort of free agent contract Paul expected when he accommodated a trade to Houston last summer and what the Rockets are willing to offer now. According to Amick, there was indeed a “mutual understanding” in 2017 of what Paul’s next contract would look like, and it’s not clear if a five-year, maximum-salary agreement will be on the table. However, it seems likely that the two sides will reach an agreement, per Amick.

Here are a few more items of interest from Amick:

  • When it comes to Kawhi Leonard, the Spurs seem determined to either fix the situation or trade him to an Eastern Conference team, according to Amick, who says that Western clubs inquiring on Leonard have “been told, in essence, to get lost.” We heard earlier this week that the Spurs “basically shut the door” on the Lakers when they called about Leonard.
  • The Cavaliers have contacted the Spurs to ask about Leonard, but there’s no traction toward a potential deal, per Amick. San Antonio has welcomed offers for its All-Star forward, but hasn’t engaged in any trade negotiations.
  • Amick is the latest reporter to suggest that there’s a real possibility of Paul George remaining with the Thunder, writing that George has strong relationships with Russell Westbrook and Billy Donovan. Interestingly, Amick adds that there’s “pessimism in [LeBron] James‘ camp” that George would leave Oklahoma City — that could work against the Lakers, who are expected to try to land both George and James.

Latest On Chris Paul, Rockets

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.

Woj’s Latest: CP3, Rockets, George, Suns, Mavs

Having appeared on a pair of draft specials on ESPN on Monday night, Adrian Wojnarowski shared several interesting tidbits related to the draft and free agency during his segments. We’ve already passed along a few of those notes and rumors in a pair of posts this morning, but we’ve got more to round up in the space below, so let’s dive in…

  • Chris Paul still appears to be a virtual lock to return to the Rockets, and is focused less on his own free agency than on recruiting LeBron James to Houston, according to Wojnarowski (Twitter link via Sagar Trika). Meanwhile, the Rockets would also love to re-sign Trevor Ariza, but the veteran forward will be a popular free agent who draws interest from multiple contenders, per Woj (Twitter link via Trika).
  • Wojnarowski is the latest to report that the Thunder still have a good chance to re-sign Paul George, despite the club’s underwhelming showing in the postseason (Twitter link via Trika).
  • After Wojnarowski reported that the Suns‘ No. 16 pick could be in play for a trade, GM Ryan McDonough confirmed as much during an appearance on ESPN, suggesting that his team would be willing to package the selection and another asset or two in order to acquire a second lottery pick (Twitter links via Trika).
  • The Mavericks are high on Luka Doncic, and are weighing whether they’ll have a shot to select the Real Madrid star at No. 5, says Wojnarowski (link via The Dallas Morning News). The Mavs have previously indicated that they have no plans to move up, but it sounds like they’d at least consider the possibility if it means landing Doncic.
  • According to Wojnarowski, the Sixers aren’t expected to hire a new general manager anytime soon — Woj reports the team will likely interview candidates deep into July (Twitter link via Trika).

Southwest Rumors: Potapenko, Cousins, Mavs Draft, Rockets

Vitaly Potapenko and Greg Buckner are among the assistants named to J.B. Bickerstaff’s staff with the Grizzlies, according to a team press release. Potapenko had been the Cavaliers’ assistant director of player development since 2013, while Buckner is a holdover from last season’s staff. As previously announced, Jerry Stackhouse will also be a top assistant for Bickerstaff. Stackhouse, who coached the Raptors’ G League the past two seasons, interviewed for several head coaching jobs. Chad Forcier, an assistant under Frank Vogel with the Magic the last two seasons, has also joined the staff along with Nick Van Exel and Adam Mazarei.

In other developments around the Southwest Division:

  • DeMarcus Cousins will most likely stay put with the Pelicans but there are three other Western Conference teams where the big man would be a good fit, HoopsHype tweets. The Mavericks, Lakers and Spurs are the most likely landing spots for Cousins if he leaves New Orleans, HoopsHype adds.
  • A draft night trade with the Bulls might make sense for the Mavericks, Tim Cowlishaw of the Dallas Morning News speculates. Dallas owns the No. 5 pick with Chicago slotted at No. 7. If Michael Porter Jr. and Trae Young go a little higher than anticipated, the Mavs could move down and either Mohamed Bamba, Wendell Carter or Jaren Jackson would still be on the board, Cowlishaw points out.
  • Rockets fans should lower their expectations of potentially landing LeBron James or Paul George and simply hope GM Daryl Morey can upgrade a  luxury-tax team with precious few young assets, Sean Deveney of Sports Illustrated opines. Giving Chris Paul a max contract will be a tough pill but one they’ll have to swallow to remain a prime contender, Deveney adds.

Central Notes: Beilein, James, Finals, Dunn

Michigan coach John Beilein was not offered the Pistons head coaching job before he withdrew his candidacy on Wednesday, Brendan Quinn of The Athletic reports. Beilein was one of the finalists along with ex-Raptors coach Dwane Casey and Spurs assistant Ime Udoka. Beilein was uncomfortable with the attention that he received when his name surfaced publicly and grew tired of the dragged-out process. But he admitted he would have strongly considered taking the NBA job if it had been offered. “I just said, let’s just move forward. I’ll make their decision easier,” Beilein told Quinn. “I felt like, well, if they’re not certain — and I understand that, it’s OK — but if they’re not certain, then I’m not going to be certain.”

In other developments involving Central Division teams:

  • Pressure from family members might be the only way that LeBron James stays with the Cavaliers after the NBA Finals, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times. James has more of an inkling what he’ll do this summer than he’s revealed publicly, Stein continues. Joining forces with close friend Chris Paul is a strong possibility, Stein adds, whether he goes to the Rockets or they sign with another team with enough salary-cap space to pull it off.
  • The Cavaliers are frustrated to be down 3-0 in theFinals against a more vulnerable Warriors team than they faced last year, according to Jason Lloyd of The Athletic. One unnamed player even told Lloyd the series would be completely opposite if Kyrie Irving had not been traded to the Celtics. “We’d be up 3-0 if Kyrie was still here,” the player said. “I have no doubt.”
  • It’s possible the Bulls will draft a point guard, in part because they’re unhappy with Kris Dunn‘s work habits, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Multiple sources told Cowley that the coaching staff and front office believe Dunn has been “shortcutting’’ his way through May and the first week of June. This is a surprise, Cowley adds, because Dunn was considered a workout warrior with the Timberwolves and showed the same traits last summer after he was traded to Chicago.

Southwest Notes: Paul, Parker, Grizzlies, Mavs

Heading into last summer’s free agent period, it looked as if Chris Paul was poised to opt out of his contract and sign a new max deal. When he picked up his player option instead as part of a trade to Houston, there was a belief that CP3 and the Rockets had an understanding about what his next contract would look like. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski suggested as much during a recent podcast, as Shane Mickle of notes.

“When the Rockets made that deal for Chris Paul, knowing they would re-sign him, they made a conscious decision that they were going to have to live with [a] $46-47MM salary when he’s not nearly the player anymore in his late 30s, but, ‘We’re going to make a run at it now, we want to win a championship now. We’ll deal with it [Paul’s contract] later,'” Wojnarowski said, according to Mickle.

“We’ll see how that plays out in their contract talks [with Paul] here in free agency,” Wojnarowski continued. “Chris Paul didn’t turn down $200MM from the Clippers because he thought that somehow the Rockets were gonna talk him into saving them luxury tax money. I don’t imagine it playing out that way.”

While it sounds like Wojnarowski expects Paul to look to maximize his earnings, the Rockets are headed way into tax territory if both CP3 and Clint Capela sign lucrative new deals. It will be interesting to see whether GM Daryl Morey and the Houston front office can convince the veteran point guard to take any sort of discount in order to help accommodate other roster reinforcements.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • It’s hard to imagine Tony Parker playing anywhere besides San Antonio, but the Spurs point guard will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, prompting Frank Urbina of HoopsHype to explore a few potential landing spots.
  • Ronald Tillery of The Memphis Commercial Appeal identifies five prospects the Grizzlies could consider with the No. 32 overall pick as they look to replicate the success of last year’s Dillon Brooks selection.
  • Appearing on ESPN Radio 103.3 FM in Dallas, Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki talked about his recovery from ankle surgery and the team’s No. 5 overall pick, as The Dallas Morning News relays. “You’re not going to carry a team on your back and carry them to the playoffs at age 19,” Nowitzki said of the Mavs’ incoming rookie. “When you draft somebody that young, you’re looking for somebody who’s obviously already good and can contribute a bit. But you draft for upside when somebody’s 19. So we’ll see what’s there.”
  • While the Mavericks are unlikely to land a superstar free agent this July, there are a number of second-tier targets that are more realistic. Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News lists five of them, including restricted free agents Julius Randle and Aaron Gordon.

Rockets GM Confident In Chris Paul’s Future With Team

Despite going up 3-2 against the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals, the Rockets failed to win the series and the absence of Chris Paul played a huge part. The Houston point guard suffered a Grade 2 strain of his right hamstring, sidelining him for both Game 6 and Game 7 of the series.

After meeting with Paul, both Rockets general manager Daryl Morey and head coach Mike D’Antoni came away feeling optimistic about his free agency plans, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle writes. Paul will hit unrestricted free agency this summer and will be a highly sought-after free agent. In his first season with Houston, Paul averaged 18.6 PPG, 7.9 APG, and 5.4 RPG.

It has been believed that Paul, along with possible 2017/18 NBA Most Valuable Player James Harden, will help the Rockets recruit big name free agents this summer.

With an injury shortening his postseason and possibly costing Houston a trip to the NBA Finals, Paul was hit the hardest by the loss and will be on a mission to improve, according to Morey.

“He took it the hardest, I thought, because he knew if he hadn’t had the unfortunate injury, he’s dragging us the last (way to the Finals),” Morey said.“He’s been there before at those moments and got injured sometimes. Yeah, he took it hard. But you know what, he’ll be back. He’ll be back 100% and we’re ready to go.”

Rockets Notes: Paul, Capela, Offseason, Gentile

Having assumed control of the Rockets last fall, new owner Tilman Fertitta is entering his first offseason with the franchise, and predictably identified re-signing free agents Chris Paul and Clint Capela as his club’s top priorities, as Mark Berman of FOX 26 Houston relays (video link).

Outside of bringing back those two key players, Fertitta believes the Rockets don’t need to make major adjustments to their roster, though GM Daryl Morey will certainly do all he can to bring in reinforcements. The Rockets’ owner also expressed confidence that the club will be in position to make another deep playoff run next spring.

“We’re going to be back,” Fertitta said, per Berman (video link). “We have a great team, great coaches, and we have a great organization. You’re not going to see a lot of change over the year. You don’t mess with success.”

Here’s more on the Rockets:

  • ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Insider link) takes an in-depth look at Houston’s coming offseason, breaking down the possibility of the Rockets acquiring LeBron James, exploring what Chris Paul‘s next contract will look like, and explaining why Clint Capela‘s agent figures to use Rudy Gobert and Steven Adams as points of comparison for his client.
  • Capela is considered a very good bet to return to the Rockets, but Frank Urbina of HoopsHype identifies a few other clubs who could make a play for the restricted free agent this offseason.
  • After initially committing to playing on the Rockets’ Summer League roster this July, draft-and-stash prospect Alessandro Gentile will likely have to miss Summer League and the next FIBA World Cup qualifiers. As Emiliano Carchia of Sportando details, Gentile is undergoing surgery to repair a fractured finger on his right hand.
  • On Tuesday, we took a closer look at the Rockets’ cap situation entering the 2018 offseason.