Chris Paul and Dwight Howard are two of the most coveted soon-to-be free agents in the NBA, and we already know the Houston Rockets are going after the Los Angeles Lakers center. However, Houston Chronicle Rockets beat writer Jonathan Feigen reports that the Rockets are planning a “similar and simultaneous pursuit” of another star from Los Angeles in L.A. Clippers point guard Chris Paul, per a person “with knowledge of the Rockets thinking”.
The Rockets top target in free agency is going to be Howard, and Feigen reports that Howard would like to be coached by Kevin McHale, and being coached by a Hall of Fame big man will likely help out Howard. Although the Rockets coaching staff is something Howard is a fan of, it will be interesting to see if Chris Paul feels the same way. Teams around the league with head coaching vacancies are likely in a better position to land Paul, because they could hire a coach whom Paul likes. The Rockets are set with McHale as their head man, so they could be put at a disadvantage if Paul doesn’t like him. But the fact that Howard wants to be coached by McHale is great news for the Rockets, and I think they would be fine with landing Howard.
Although Paul isn’t as big of a target for the Rockets as Howard, Feigen reports that Paul will be courted just about as hard by the team. Signing both players to max contracts will eat up a ton of cap space that is becoming more valuable, but apparently the Rockets aren’t going to be deterred by that.
This is the first report directly linking the Rockets as a team that will be involved in the Paul sweepstakes, as everything else to this point was speculation. It sounds like the Rockets will be courting Paul hard, and it would be crazy to see Houston nab both superstar players in free agency. We’ll see if they can pull it off, but it would certainly require Daryl Morey to trade somebody. Based on Feigen’s article, it sounds like former Kansas Jayhawks star Thomas Robinson will be the young gun out of Houston.
Paul, who averaged 17 points per game and nearly ten assists per game last season, is 28 years old, and both he and Howard are also expected to be courted by the Atlanta Hawks, who mentioned both players in a letter to fans of the team.