As cliche as the phrase “Houston, we have a problem is”, is it actually quite apropos in this instance. It seems there is a developing schism between two of the Houston Rockets’ most notable players- James Harden and Chris Paul. Sources told Tim MacMahon of ESPN that the issues stem from “differences in preferred playing styles and personality”, which comes as little surprise to me. Chris Paul wants to play more system oriented basketball, which is the complete antithesis of the way James Harden plays basketball. Harden’s playing style is something that many think is not entertaining and hard to watch , so one can only imagine how much exasperation it would cause to actually play in that system. On the other side, Chris Paul has a personality that, while it has made him a great player, can be grating, ask his teammates in Los Angeles. There is a limited shelf life on how long his teammates can deal with him before they want to give him the two fingers and hit him with a Stunner.
The MacMahon report adds that things have deteriorated to the point where Paul relished being on the floor sans Harden and would want head coach Mike D’Antoni to keep Harden on the bench while he ran the show with the second unit. While Harden didn’t want to be coached by Paul.
What the Rockets find themselves in a potentially deleterious situation to and something has to give. Once seen as nipping at the heels of the Golden State Warriors for This is not the Kobe/Shaq situation where at least they are winning championships and that can anesthetize personal issues; neither one of their teams has ever won anything. If these two cannot figure out a way to coexist the normally viable option would be to trade someone and since Harden is younger and playing at a higher level, the natural choice to be move is Paul but there are 34 years and nearly $80 million reasons why that will likely not happen, save the Rockets willing to get kicked in the teeth on any potential deal.