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#pounditWednesday, December 1, 2021

Chris Paul

Former rival admits to being jealous of Chris Paul

Chris Paul Suns

Chris Paul’s continued success in the NBA has at least one old rival feeling a bit envious.

Former All-Star Deron Williams spoke this week to TMZ Sports and admitted to being jealous of his contemporary Paul.

“I’m a little jealous he’s still out there shining,” said Williams. “You know, it’s fun to watch. He’s a special player, one of the best to ever do it and he’s defied time. Seems like every team that he goes to, he makes them instantly better because there’s nobody who predicted the Suns to be in the Finals last year. He was a huge part of that.”

Williams and Paul were rivals when the former was with the Utah Jazz and the latter was with the New Orleans Hornets. The two players are the same age, and Williams was selected one pick ahead of Paul in the 2005 draft.

Paul’s longevity and continued success at 36 years old are truly a marvel to behold. While Williams has been out of the league for years, he can at least say that he has as many Finals appearances (one in 2017 with the Cleveland Cavaliers) as Paul does (one last season with the Suns). Williams has also since graduated to some other interesting pursuits off the court.

Photo: Mark Rebilas-USA Today Sports

Video: Chris Paul got taste of his own medicine against Rockets

Chris Paul fighting for a loose ball

Chris Paul quickly went from the hunter to the hunted against his old team.

Paul’s Phoenix Suns faced the Houston Rockets on Sunday night. Late in the first half, Paul unsuccessfully tried to draw a swipe-through foul on Rockets guard Kevin Porter Jr. Play continued, and Porter poked the ball away. The two players fought for the loose ball, and Paul got frustrated. He gave Porter a shove and then gestured angrily at referee Brian Forte, who hit Paul with a technical foul. Porter could be seen in the background gesturing for the T.

Of course, frustrating his opponents to the point that they lose their cool is a Paul specialty. He has pulled it out of his bag of tricks many times over the years, sometimes even in heated playoff battles. That is part of what makes Paul so widely disliked by other fanbases.

The Suns would go on to cruise to a 115-89 victory over the Rockets. But for one brief shining moment, Porter, who is 15 years Paul’s junior, got to tell him, “The future is now, old man.”

NBA star gave UC Riverside pep talk before upset victory

Chris Paul Suns

UC Riverside’s huge upset of Arizona State on Thursday had an assist from one of the NBA’s leading stars.

Phoenix Suns point guard Chris Paul spoke to the UC Riverside team for 45 minutes on Thursday prior to the Highlanders’ 66-65 upset win over Arizona State. It came about because J.P. Moorman II played on Paul’s grassroots CP3 All-Stars squad in North Carolina, and considers Paul a friend and mentor. With Moorman and the Highlanders in Phoenix to face the Sun Devils, Moorman reached out and asked Paul if he’d be willing to speak to the team before the game.

“It kind of worked out where I hit him up when we landed and asked him what he had going on after his game and he told me he was going to [STK Steakhouse] and asked if I wanted to come,” Moorman said, via Myron Medcalf of ESPN. “I told him to hit me in the morning and maybe you could come by and speak to the team. He said, ‘All right, just let me know where you’re staying.’ The rest is history.”

Paul spoke for 45 minutes about tricks and tools he’s used to find success in his career. The surprise energized the team ahead of what turned out to be an upset win.

Perhaps the best part? It was Moorman who made the dramatic 70-foot shot to seal the upset. Between that and bringing in Paul, he was definitely the MVP of the day.

Chris Paul reacts to Deandre Ayton contract drama with Suns

Chris Paul Suns

Chris Paul played a major part last season in building up Deandre Ayton’s value. Now he is reacting to the recent turmoil over Ayton’s contract situation with the Phoenix Suns.

The Suns guard Paul appeared this week on ESPN’s “First Take” and gave his thoughts on the current impasse between Ayton and the Suns.

“I’m not concerned,” said Paul, per Karl Batungbacal of the International Business Times. “I’m not concerned. That’s the business side of the game, you know. Those contract talks happen. Players, agents, all of that stuff. Hopefully, that stuff takes care of itself so we can get back to playing and doing what we do.”

After the Suns made it to the NBA Finals last season on the backs of Paul, Ayton, and Devin Booker, contract drama now threatens to derail their long-term outlook. Phoenix is reportedly reluctant to offer Ayton the maximium extension that he is eligible for this offseason. Negotiations between the two sides have thus stalled, as Ayton believes he is a max-level player.

The former No. 1 overall pick Ayton averaged 14.4 points and 10.5 rebounds a game last season, which was actually a regression from the previous year. But he proved in the playoffs to be one of the team’s most important players and one of the most impactful seven-footers in the league. Meanwhile, Paul, who is no stranger to contract uncertainty, sounds confident that the two sides will eventually get a deal done.

JJ Redick had emotional moment with ex-‘Lob City’ teammate before retiring

JJ Redick

JJ Redick is officially hanging up his jersey, but he wishes that his career could have played out differently with one particular ex-teammate.

During the latest episode of his “The Old Man and the Three” podcast, Redick revealed that he had an emotional moment with his former LA Clippers teammate Chris Paul before publicly announcing his retirement from the NBA. Redick said that his inner circle knew he was retiring but that he felt he had one last phone call to make.

“I had this, like, weird feeling,” said Redick. “I was like, ‘I feel like I need to make one more call.’ And I realized who that call was. It was Chris. I called Chris, and I don’t wanna get emotional, but I called him.

“I told him what was happening,” Redick went on. “What I said to him was, ‘The only thing I would change about my career in terms of an outcome, I wish I had won a championship. If there was one person that I played with in my career that I could win that championship with, it was you.’ And I mean that sincerely. I wish it was Chris.”

Redick and Paul were the Clippers’ starting backcourt for four seasons during the team’s “Lob City” days. It was an era of regular season success but playoff failure as those Clippers never made it past the second round.

Not all of Paul’s former Clipper teammates hold him in high regard. But Redick obviously has a very meaningful connection with Paul that will last well beyond their playing days.

Carmelo Anthony shares hilarious story about the ‘Banana Boat Boys’

Carmelo Anthony

Carmelo Anthony has always been considered a member of the “Banana Boat Boys,” but there’s one problem — he wasn’t actually on the banana boat. That has left us with some questions, and Carmelo was kind enough to answer them this week.

The “Banana Boy Boys” were born when best friends LeBron James, Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade all rode on an inflatable banana boat together in the Bahamas back in 2015. The three NBA stars lined up one right after the other with Wade’s wife Gabrielle Union at the front of the boat. Anthony was also on that trip, so why didn’t he saddle up?

Anthony was very candid about the banana boat during an appearance on the “Pardon My Take” podcast. He was asked if not being invited on it was the worst moment of his career, but Carmelo says he was invited. He declined. Be aware that the video contains some inappropriate language.

“I didn’t get left out. They were already down there (in the Bahamas) and I was meeting them,” Anthony explained. “I had just flown in and we were, like, taxiing to the boat. They were already in the water doing water sports. I see them on the banana boat and I’m just like, ‘What is this?’ And they’re like, ‘Come on!’ And I’m like, ‘No, I’m not getting on that s—.'”

Anthony said he would have had no interest in riding on the banana boat even if he arrived in the Bahamas earlier. He does, however, consider himself a part of the “Banana Boat family.”

The “Banana Boat Boys” became so popular that other teams were still recreating it years later. Now that Carmelo and LeBron are finally teammates in L.A., Anthony had better embrace it more than ever.

Chris Paul admits he clashed with Deandre Ayton at first

Chris Paul Suns

Chris Paul finally made the NBA Finals last season for the first time in his career. His NBA Finals appearance came as a surprise to many for a few reasons. One, he was playing for a team that didn’t even qualify for the playoffs last season. Two, it was his first season with the Phoenix Suns.

In an interview on “No Chill with Gilbert Arenas,” Paul talked about why he chose to play for the Suns. He said the opportunity to play for Monty Williams, who was a coach on the Hornets staff when he played for them, was appealing. So was playing with Devin Booker.

But Paul admitted to Arenas that the road to winning in Phoenix wasn’t so easy. The veteran point guard says he clashed with young center Deandre Ayton at first.

“And then the part is building. It ain’t always pretty. Me and Deandre Ayton was getting into it like he– to start the season,” Paul said (censored by LBS). “Because I’m hard on you. And I ain’t no loser.”

Eventually the Suns really started to pull things together consistently. They took the No. 2 spot in the West, knocked out the Lakers in the first round of the playoffs, the Clippers in the conference finals, and then reached the NBA Finals. They lost to the Bucks for the championship, but their run to the Finals was still stunning to many. Paul seems to have successfully turned around Ayton’s mentality, which was great by the Finals.

Chris Paul came close to returning to New Orleans?

Chris Paul Suns

New Orleans’ prodigal son very nearly made his way home this offseason.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN said this week on “The Hoop Collective” podcast that the New Orleans Pelicans offered Paul a three-year, $100 million deal. Windhorst adds that the 11-time All-Star appeared to have entertained the offer for some time. But the Suns ended up giving Paul a $120 million contract with a partially-guaranteed fourth year, which he accepted.

Paul, now 36, was drafted by New Orleans in 2005 and played the first six seasons of his career with them back when they were still the Hornets. The team just hired former Suns assistant Willie Green to be their next head coach. They also would have been able to complement Paul with a young core led by Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram.

That said, Paul just made the Finals with Phoenix’s fine young core of their own led by Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton. With his new deal paying him until age 40, it was simply too good for Paul to walk away from, despite New Orleans’ best efforts to bring him home.

H/T RealGM

Chris Paul returns to Suns on 4-year deal for up to $120 million

Chris Paul Suns

Chris Paul is proving that his decision to opt out of his $44.2 million option for next season was a good one.

Paul is returning to the Phoenix Suns on a four-year deal worth up to $120 million.

When Paul opted out of his contract, our analysis was that he wouldn’t make as much as $44.2 million per season, but he would sign for more total money. That is the case.

CP3 is 36 years old, so a 4-year deal will take him to age 40. This will likely be Paul’s last NBA contract. His career earnings currently total just under $327 million. By the end of his new contract, Paul will have been paid over $446 million. That’s not bad at all.

The Suns reached the NBA Finals in Paul’s first season with them. We doubt they make it back to the NBA Finals in any of the next four seasons, but retaining CP3 should keep them at a high level of competitiveness.

Chris Paul expected to return to Suns on new 3-year deal?

Chris Paul Suns

Chris Paul has opted out of his current contract and hefty player option for next season. But that does not necessarily mean he will be leaving the Phoenix Suns.

The 36-year-old point guard declined his $44.2 million option. Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer reported on Saturday that CP3 is destined to return to Phoenix. His deal will likely be for three years and at least $90 million.

It is difficult to envision Paul earning more per year than the $44.2 million he was set to make next season. But at his age, Paul likely thinks it’s wise to lock in a greater amount of total money.

Paul averaged 16.4 points and 8.9 assists per game during the regular season. He then scored 19.2 points and had 8.6 assists per game during the Suns’ NBA Finals run.

Suns GM James Jones hinted recently that he feels something will be worked out between the sides.