Houston Rockets point guard Chris Paul will be a free-agent once July 1 hits and he reportedly won’t give the Rockets a hometown discount.
On Friday’s edition of The Woj Pod, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski hinted that Paul is highly unlikely to sign anything less than a max contract to stay in Houston.
“When the Rockets made that deal for Paul, knowing they would re-sign him, they made a conscious decision that they were gonna have to live with a $46-47 million-a-year salary when he’s not nearly the player anymore in his late 30s. They said we’re gonna make a run at it now, we wanna win a championship now, we’ll deal with it later. We’ll see how that plays out in their contract talks here in free agency, but Paul didn’t turn down $200 million 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.”
The Rockets are slated to have $85.1 million on the books for next season, with the NBA salary cap projected to be around $101 million for the 2018-19 season.
In his first year with the Rockets, Paul averaged 18.6 points, 5.4 rebounds and 7.9 assists while shooting 46.0 percent from the field and 38.0 percent from three. He finally advanced to the Conference Finals for the first time in his career, but it was cut short, as the All-Star suffered a hamstring injury in Game 5 and was forced to miss Game 6 and 7.
The injury proved to be costly, as Houston lost to the Golden State Warriors in seven games.
The Rockets are widely expected to pursue both LeBron James and Paul George this summer, which makes it perplexing as to why Paul wants a max deal.
The New York Times is reporting Paul has already started to recruit his pal James to come to Houston, but Paul has to know James will command top dollar and that the Rockets will need to shed some salary in order to accommodate him and James.