Chris Paul is staying in Houston. The Rockets re-signed the nine-time All-Star to a four-year, $160 million deal, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Paul played in 58 games for Houston last season, averaging 18.6 points and 7.9 assists per game. Paul, in his first year in Houston after six in Los Angeles, helped lead the team to the conference finals, but was unable to play in the final two games of the playoffs due to an injury. Let’s grade the deal for the Rockets.
The Rockets were in a tough spot with Paul. When he played last season, he was one of the best players in the league. The issue was availability. In addition to missing the two most important games of the postseason, Paul missed 24 contests during the regular season. CP3 will turn 34 next May—does it really make sense to sign him for four more seasons with his injury history? At the same time, Houston couldn’t exactly lowball Paul. His addition to the team turned the Rockets into a bonafide Warriors threat, and signing him to a shorter deal would have likely put a definitive endpoint on Houston’s title window.
Unfortunately for Houston, the age gap between Paul and Harden doesn’t exactly lend itself to a true superteam. The Rockets’ window is tighter than most teams, and they probably had some kind of wink-wink deal with Paul in place when he decided to play on a one-year deal last season. It‘s a great contract for Paul, who assures himself one last huge contract that should take him through the majority of the rest of his career. If you caught Daryl Morey in an honest moment, I would guess he would have loved to sign Paul to a slightly shorter deal just in case he starts to break down. At the end of the day, Houston is still bringing back an All-NBA caliber guard who keeps the team in title contention. The back half of the contract may not look great, but if Houston can parlay Paul’s presence into a Finals trip, the contract will have been worth it.