HOUSTON (CBS HOUSTON) – The excitement surrounding the Houston Rockets’ acquisition of 9-time NBA All-Star Chris Paul was palpable inside Toyota Center Friday afternoon as thousands lined up around Toyota Center for the chance to welcome him.
Paul, who was accompanied by friends and family, received thunderous chants of “CP3” from the Rocket fans in the lower bowl at Toyota Center after he concluded his introductory press conference alongside GM Daryl Morey and head coach Mike D’Antoni.
Paul now will join alongside MVP runner-up James Harden, who just recently inked a new four-year $170 million extension to his current deal, to form a backcourt that includes two of the best on-ball creators in the league. Something that will be a bit out of the norm for both players who are used to being ball-dominant players.
“It’s definitely going to be an adjustment, but I’m excited about it. That’s Coach (D’antoni’s) problem over there to figure that out,” Paul said. “When you want to win, you’ll do whatever it takes. I know (Harden) has that, I know I do. Whoever is in our locker room, I’m sure from day one we are going to talk about sacrificing and doing whatever you have to do to help us win.”
Mike D’Antoni said he doesn’t plan to lose any sleep worrying about how to incorporate Paul into an offense that was the second most efficient team in the NBA.
“We’ve got two of the best playmakers in the league from last year, if not the best,” Mike D’Antoni said. “They’ll play off each other. They can both shoot, they can do everything, so that’s easy. We’ll run what we run, and then we’ll tweak things as we know each other’s games and how the synergy is between the players.”
Paul was not able to speak with the Rockets directly prior to the trade as it occurred before free agency officially began. However, Paul did speak with Harden about the possibility of coming together and doing something neither have been able to accomplish thus far into their respective careers and that’s winning an NBA title.
Paul mentioned that he has spoken with Harden every day since he became a Rockets back in June and plans to continue that dialogue throughout the rest of the offseason. Paul joked that the combo of he and Harden came together with, “a basketball in the room, and we were fighting over it,”
“We talked about the ultimate goal and that’s winning,” Paul said. “Neither one of us have had the opportunity to do that and we talked about how good that would feel. That’s probably what I am most excited about is to be on this journey with somebody else who wants it as bad as I do.”
Since Paul was traded to Houston and not a free agent signee, Paul was forced to opt in to the final year of his current contract and will be eligible for an extension next offseason. Paul said the trade made things easier for all parties and will focus on the extension when the time comes.
“We gotta long way to go before that gets there. It’s about the present, it’s about the right now. Anything I can do to help make this team better right now that’s what we wanted to do.”
Alex Del Barrio covers the Houston Texans for Sportsradio610.com and is the color commentator for the Houston Dynamo. He also hosts “ADB and Murph” with Matt Murphy which can be heard on Saturday afternoons 4-7 pm Follow Alex Del Barrio on Twitter: @alexdelbarrio