During a wide-ranging conversation with Sam Amick of The Athletic, Suns point guard Chris Paul spoke about the presentation the Thunder made to him back in 2019 when they first acquired him from Houston.
As Paul explains, and as Amick has heard from sources, Oklahoma City presented CP3 with a comprehensive plan for how the team aimed to reduce his minutes and keep him healthy after he had dealt with multiple injuries as a Rocket. Although Paul listened to and appreciated the pitch, he wasn’t on board with the Thunder’s proposed approach, having made his own changes to his body, his routine, and his diet that he hoped would allow him to stay healthy without requiring a “load management” plan.
“At the end of the PowerPoint presentation, I said, ‘You know, I appreciate y’all coming out here, but one thing I just realized is y’all don’t know me. I don’t do premeditated rest and all this,’” Paul told Amick. “… They were looking out for me (because) they probably felt I was injury prone coming from Houston, you know? They were like, ‘You’ve played 56 games the past couple years,’ you know? I had already told them about the changes and all the stuff I made. But I get it. They hadn’t seen it.”
Paul ended up missing just two games during his year with the Thunder and raved about the organization on his way out. According to Amick, when Oklahoma City shopped the All-Star point guard last fall, the club was willing to send him somewhere he wanted to go, even if it meant taking a little less in return. Sources tell The Athletic that the Sixers believed they gained some traction on a possible deal, but Paul didn’t reciprocate Philadelphia’s interest and the Suns ultimately won out.
Here are a few more highlights from Amick’s conversation with Paul, which is worth checking out in full if you’re an Athletic subscriber:
On how his time with the Rockets ended:
“(Then-Rockets general manager) Daryl Morey had just told me a couple weeks before that that he wouldn’t trade me, that he wouldn’t trade me (to Oklahoma City). I think a lot of guys in this league, you play for a while and you feel like the team at least owes you a conversation, you know what I mean? Like, of course they can do whatever they want to. You’re under contract, but just to have a conversation with you is respectful enough, I feel. So when that didn’t happen in Houston, it was what it was.”
On potential offseason free agency and whether he might finish his career with the Suns:
“I mean first and foremost, I love it here. I don’t know how many years I’ve got left. I don’t really think about that either. I feel too good.
“Seriously, this summer, I have no clue. As much as I’m involved in the union and stuff like that, I don’t know what anybody’s teams are, (what their) caps are, I don’t know none of that stuff. I just play.”
On possibly playing for Team USA in the Tokyo Olympics:
“Yeah, I’m thinking about it. I’m thinking about it. I don’t know yet. I told (Team USA director) Jerry (Colangelo) I would get with him soon. I’d seen him the other day out here in Phoenix.”