It is pretty much a foregone conclusion to state that the Golden State Warriors are not going to be in the NBA Finals next season after the injuries to Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson have drastically weakened the team.
That would open the door for many teams like the Houston Rockets who have been eliminated in the postseason by the Warriors over the past few years.
Instead of getting ready for the upcoming year and what it could bring, a new report brings light to a situation in Houston that is boiling over between their two stars.
“D’Antoni, who acknowledges he’s non-confrontational to a fault, has told friends he’s willing to deal with the indignity of lame-duck status because he believes the Rockets have a legitimate chance to win a championship. All parties involved admit the situation has played out much messier than necessary, but neither LeGarie nor Fertitta seem willing to budge.
Paul noticeably lost a step last season, as evidenced by analytics and the eye test. Paul pushed for more plays and sets in the Houston offense, more screening and deception, despite Harden being in the process of putting together a historically dominant individual offensive season.
“Chris wants to coach James,” says a source familiar with the stars’ dynamic. “James looks at him like, ‘You can’t even beat your man. Just shut up and watch me.’”
According to sources, Paul was also frustrated by what he perceived as Harden’s tendency to ignore unglamorous details that impact winning — such as moving when he gives up the ball to help spacing — and wasn’t shy about expressing those concerns.
Harden, by nature, tends to avoid conflict but was pushed hard enough to snap back at Paul from time to time. That’s what happened during the Rockets’ elimination loss, when, team sources said, Harden told Paul he didn’t always know best and had talked too much.
“Chris has a personality where he just doesn’t let anything go,” a team source says. “He just keeps pestering and pestering and pestering and pestering. Sometimes James has had enough — and not just him. That’s what makes [Paul] a winner and also what keeps him from being a big-time winner. He’s got to temper that.”
Houston was pushed close to the tax limit last summer by re-signing Paul to a four-year, $160 million max deal and Capela to a relative bargain contract worth $80 million plus incentives over five years. (Fertitta has grumbled about Paul’s contract, expressing regret to Rockets staffers and even in front of rival executives, according to league sources.)”
This is such a terrible look for the Houston Rockets as they were one of the few teams who were being open and honest about creating a roster to take down the Warriors, not realizing their own players would take them down.