Chris Paul and the Golden State Warriors have been Western Conference rivals for over a decade, but they now have an opportunity to compete for the NBA championship together.
Golden State has acquired the 12-time NBA All-Star via a trade with the Washington Wizards who received him a few days ago in the deal that sent Bradley Beal to the Phoenix Suns. In turn, Washington will receive Jordan Pool, Ryan Rollins, a protected 2030 first round pick, and a 2027 second round pick from the Warriors.
The Wizards had no clear need for Paul’s veteran savvy as it became even more apparent that they were set for a rebuild following yesterday’s trade that sent Kristaps Porzingis to the Boston Celtics.
Meanwhile, Golden State is trying to maximize its title window and Paul brings them a stabilizing presence similar to the roles played by Shaun Livingston and Andre Iguodala during their many championship runs.
Paul is likely to fill Poole’s role as the third guard in the Warriors’ rotation–playing meaningful minutes alongside either Stephen Curry or Klay Thompson and, on occasion, three guard line-ups with both.
Though the 38-year-old Paul has never been as gifted a scorer as Poole can be on his best days, his ability to control the tempo of a game and consistently hit midrange jump shots even at this age make him an upgrade for Golden State’s rotation. Paul has proven in recent years that he can still close out games as well and this should help alleviate Curry’s load come playoff time.
Furthermore, it will be interesting to see how Paul and Draymond Green coexist in the Warriors’ locker room given the strong personalities of these two tenured players.
Paul has battled Golden State in three playoff series over the course of his 18-year career, winning the first one back in 2014 (First Round) while he was with the Los Angeles Clippers before losing the next two in 2018 (Conference Finals) and 2019 (Second Round) when he played for the Houston Rockets.
The 2014 loss of the Warriors to Paul and the Clippers actually helped begin their recent run of dominance as it led to the hiring of Steve Kerr to replace Mark Jackson as their head coach. Since that 2014 loss to Los Angeles, Golden State have rattled off four NBA titles since 2015 while Paul has only managed one NBA Finals appearance back in 2021 where his Suns fell to the Milwaukee Bucks.
This could be the last chance for the embattled Paul to win an NBA championship, but he is in an excellent position to do so. Curry remains one of the best players in the league today and the ecosystem of this Warriors organization has proven to be conducive, on most occasions at least, for veterans like Paul.
Ultimately, this could be a highly successful partnership though it also has the potential to become one of the most explosive social experiments of the upcoming NBA season as well.