In order to keep Chris Paul, the Houston Rockets will have to give him a max contract offer, at least according to a rumor relayed on the Friday edition of Adrian Wojnarowski's The Woj Pod.
In that podcast (which you can hear here) Woj said it's unlikely that the 13-year vet gives the Western Conference runner-ups a discount to stay.
"When the Rockets made that deal for Chris Paul, knowing they would re-sign him (Paul opted into the last year of his contract to make the trade happen), they made a conscious decision that they were gonna have to live with $46, $47 million-a-year salary when he’s not nearly the player anymore in his late 30s, but, ‘We’re gonna make a run at it now; we wanna win a championship now. We’ll deal with it [Paul’s contract] later,'" the ESPN insider said.
“We’ll see how that plays out in their contract talks here in free agency. Chris 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."
In 2017-18, his first and only season (so far) with Houston, Paul had averages of 18.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, 7.9 assists, and 1.7 steals per game over the course of 58 contests. He improved upon all those averages (except for assists) in the postseason, but was injured for Games 6 and 7 of the Western Conference Finals, both of which the Rockets lost to the Warriors.
As president of the players union, the 33-year-old Paul has advised his peers to go for max deals while saying that you shouldn't take less than your worth because owners make enough dough (second that). This theory put forth by Wojnarowski comes just a week after headlines stated Paul was recruiting LeBron James to come to Houston this offseason. That would seem optimistic given that the franchise is more than $19 million over the cap, but let us all wait to see (because we have no other choice) if their payroll department can figure out a way to make that work.