Not only was last summer’s free agency frenzy one of the wildest on record; it also had something of a domino effect for several players not on the free agent market. For instance, you have to start in Toronto with Kawhi Leonard to trace the events that led to Chris Paul landing in OKC.
As we’ve come to understand how things unfolded, it was Kawhi’s ultimatum about playing alongside Paul George that led him to sign with the Clippers, setting off another chain of events that resulted in Russell Westbrook being traded to the Rockets in exchange for Chris Paul.
Paul, for his part, hasn’t exactly been shy about how things went down. During an interview with Kevin Hart, he even went so far as to not disagree with the characterization that the front office “stabbed him in the back.” As the season progresses, it’s a mostly forgotten story line, but that didn’t stop Paul from sounding off on it again in a recent interview.
“My initial reaction?” Paul said with a laugh. “I was shocked. Truth be told, I just talked to Daryl a couple days before the trade and he said he wasn’t going to trade me [to Oklahoma City]. That’s funny because that is going to be the alert that pops up on everybody’s phone because nobody knows that. But what the hell, I just said it.”
It’s important to keep in mind that this all transpired amid rumors that Paul wanted out of Houston and had demanded a trade, which Morey immediately denied. Nonetheless, it’s clear Paul still harbors some resentment about the situation.
His future in OKC remains uncertain as well, even as the 8-11 Thunder are not said to be actively shopping him around. Yet Paul and this team are undeniably on two different time lines, as he would obviously like to find a role on a championship contender, while the Thunder look toward the future with a chest full of future draft picks.