Thunder guard Chris Paul is no stranger to the inner workings of an NBA front office. As president of the Players Association, it’s part of his job to understand the details. Knowing how front offices and the league might act in a situation can help him better understand how to help other players as they try to work through a business that can be pretty cutthroat at times.
Paul had to deal with some of that himself in the offseason when the Rockets chose to trade him for the surprisingly available Russell Westbrook. The Rockets and Paul had spent the offseason denying a report that he had requested a trade from the team due to a tense relationship with co-star James Harden, but when Paul George was traded to the Clippers, the situation changed due to Westbrook being attainable.
On Kevin Hart’s YouTube show “Cold as Balls,” Paul discussed the trade. He’s handling it professionally and acknowledges that it’s all part of the business, but he when Hart uses the phrase “stabbed in the back,” Paul alludes to how things went down in Houston.
“Do you feel like there’s been times where, ‘Damn, that’s a little eye-opening, I got stabbed in the back’?” Hart asked.
“Absolutely,” Paul said in response. “This last situation was one of them. The GM there in Houston, he don’t owe me nothing. You know what I mean? He may tell me one thing but do another thing. But you just understand that that’s what it is.”
At first this might sound like sour grapes from Paul because of the reports that he had demanded a trade, but shortly after word came out that he wanted a move, everyone within the Rockets organization swiftly denied it. Even general manager Daryl Morey openly said he wasn’t trying to trade Paul. The key detail here, of course, is that Westbrook wasn’t available yet.
It’s understandable why Paul might have felt betrayed over all of this, but he also likely understands that when circumstances change, everything is on the table. For now, he has to play out the rest of his contract with the Thunder unless they can figure out a way to trade him elsewhere. Considering he’s 34 years old and desperately wants to compete for a ring, it’s easy to assume Paul is hoping that will be sooner rather than later.