Houston Rockets point guard Chris Paul refuted rumours that he requested a trade from the Houston Rockets, amid reports of a tense relationship with MVP candidate James Harden.
"I never asked for a trade," Paul said Monday (IST), according to the Houston Chronicle's Jonathan Feigen. "I never demanded a trade....I'll be in Houston. I'm happy about that. I'm very happy about that."
Paul's comments come a week after Rockets General Manager Daryl re-iterated that there was no trade demand from the nine-time All-Star.
Just spoke to Daryl Morey. He reiterated there has been no trade demand from Chris Paul. "Tweet that I said that. Print it. Tweet it twice." https://t.co/oo6ge0Wkop- Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) June 19, 2019
Last month ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Morey was committed to upgrading the Rockets roster and with the Western Conference wide open next season, the Rockets may see 2019/20 as their best chance to advance to the NBA Finals.
If the Rockets were considering trading Paul, his contract could prove difficult to move with the 34-year-old owed $124 million over the next three seasons, including a player option in the final year.
The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor reported that the Rockets discussed a trade for Paul to the New York Knicks, which was rebuffed, while they are also reportedly targeting Philadelphia 76ers swingman Jimmy Butler in free agency.
Any moves in free agency would require the Rockets to shed significant salary from their roster, with $106.8 million tied up in four players in 2019/20. Chris Paul will make $38.5 million next season, James Harden $37.8 million, Clint Capela $16.4 million and Eric Gordon $14.1 million.
Paul averaged a career-low 15.6 points per game last season, adding 8.2 assists, 4.6 rebounds and two steals in 58 regular season games.