Chris Paul's breakup with the Houston Rockets was anything but amicable. His departure from the team was littered with rumors about his supposedly fractured relationship with James Harden. During a recent conversation with TNT's Chris Haynes, Paul talked about that relationship, saying that he hasn't spoken to his former teammate since he was shipped to the Thunder.
"He’s not going to hit me to tell my daughter Happy Birthday today. We don't talk, communicate, nothing like that," Paul said.
Paul and Harden's initial issue was rooted in playing styles. As a true point guard, Paul wanted Harden to move the ball more while Harden likes to isolate his defender and create a shot. This seemed to make its way off the court, leading to reports that Paul demanded a trade in June 2019 because of his "unsalvagable" relationship with Harden. These reports were backed by sources claiming that Harden gave the Rockets a "him or me" ultimatum when it came to Chris Paul and his future with the team.
With their hands tied, the Rockets traded Paul to the waining Thunder in exchange for Harden's former teammate Russell Westbrook. Paul appeared to be in the twilight of his career, but the move actually proved to be an example of Paul's relentlessness.
At the beginning of the season, ESPN predicted that the Thunder had a 0.2% chance of making the playoff. Not only did Paul lift the Thunder to the fifth seed in the West, but he also made the All-Star team this year. Now, he's poised to square off against his former team in the first round of the playoffs. After turning these lemons into lemonade, Paul insists that there is no bad blood between Harden and himself.
"But that's all good and well, I wish him the best," Paul continued. "Sometimes you have teammates and it's for that period of time and that's okay. You can wish each other well going forward. ... It doesn't mean you have to be enemies."