On Thursday, Marc J. Spears of ESPN’s The Undefeated reported on Paul’s interest level in teaming up with coach Gregg Popovich and San Antonio but said “with Aldridge’s status with the Spurs up in the air, it made the situation less attractive.”
Spears also noted, “It probably would have been awkward for Paul to take the starting role over longtime Spurs point guard, respected foe and friend Tony Parker.”
Aldridge has a player option for the 2018-19 season, per Spotrac, and will turn 32 years old in July. He also struggled at times in the playoffs and scored single-digit points in two of San Antonio’s four losses to the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals while having trouble keeping up with quicker playmakers on the defensive side.
As for Paul, Spears cited a source who said the point guard wanted to join a winning team after losing in the first round of the playoffs in 2017 and never advancing past the second round in his career.
Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical previously reported “Paul had a strong desire to play” with James Harden, which spurred the Los Angeles Clippers to trade him. If they didn’t, Paul could have opted out of his contract and signed elsewhere in free agency, leaving his prior team without a return package that included Patrick Beverley, Sam Dekker and Montrezl Harrell.
While the consistent Spurs with Kawhi Leonard would have given Paul a chance to play for a winner, Houston does as well.
The Rockets finished with the third-best record in the league in 2016-17, and Paul will have a chance to play in head coach Mike D’Antoni’s space-oriented system. Paul and Harden should have plenty of opportunities to get out in transition and find teammates when opposing defenses collapse.
While it remains to be seen whether Houston will have enough to challenge the Warriors—especially since it could still add players this offseason—Paul will have a chance to play with a winner.
Read more NBA news on BleacherReport.com