Rockets general manager Daryl Morey also issued forceful denials that CP3’s camp wants out.
Paul even responded to a Yahoo! report on Tuesday that the relationship between he and Harden is “unsalvageable” and that he wants to leave the Rockets by posting on Instagram, “Damn! That’s news to me…”
“It’s definitely not true,” Morey said. “It’s ridiculous.”
Asked if Paul or his representatives had asked that he be traded, Morey said, “No. Can you convey my disdain in my ‘no.’ It’s so annoying at this point. I’ve talked to Chris since (Game 6), for sure. Myself, Mike D’Antoni, James Harden are all super competitive, all frustrated we were eliminated from the playoffs, all want to get over the hump. That leads to a lot of competitive fire. All of it is normal. We’re all in the same boat, pursuing the championship. We’re all frustrated we’re not there. But there is nothing past that.”
The Rockets will have only a $5.7 million mid-level exception to spend in free agency but could seek a larger deal with a free agent in a sign-and-trade arrangement or in a trade for a potential free agent that chose to opt in as Paul did when he was dealt to the Rockets in 2017.
“With both Chris and James, we’re talking about potential mid-level guys, potential top guys we might be able to trade for,” Morey said. “I distinctly remember one time they both face-timed me and I walked through 50 free agents and got their opinion on them together, if that gives you a sense of how tightly they are tied together.”