Stories about the relationship between Chris Paul and James Harden souring have been percolating the last month or so, and now it seems to have hit its peak.
Yahoo’s Vincent Goodwill reported on Tuesday that Paul demanded a trade from the Houston Rockets over his issues with Harden, while Harden told Houston to pick between them following the team’s loss to the Golden State Warriors in the playoffs. This report is not surprising given that the two players reportedly had a blowout in the locker room after the Game 6 loss to Golden State in May. On top of that, ESPN’s Tim MacMahon reported on Monday that Paul and Harden have clashed over their personalities and playing styles.
Goodwill’s reporting takes everything a step further. He says the two players went nearly two months without speaking during the season. He adds that Harden has not responded to Paul’s messages to reach out over the offseason.
Paul is said to be upset with Harden’s ball-dominant playing style, while Harden is annoyed with CP3’s injuries and personality.
The Rockets would seemingly be extraordinarily unlikely to consider trading Harden, the 2017-2018 NBA MVP. They would probably be motivated to move Paul, but his contract would be a major hurdle in trading him. He is 34 years old, has a history of chronic hamstring injuries, and is owed $124 million over the next three years. The Rockets reportedly have had some preliminary talks about trading Paul.
Contrary to the news report, Paul posted on Instagram to deny making the demand.