Chris Paul didn’t know he would be a good match for the Golden State Warriors this fall.
The long-time leading defender has started steadily for all his 18 seasons in the NBA. But now that Paul has been traded to the Warriors in a deal to bring Jordan Poole to the Washington Wizards, leaving the bench is a real possibility.
At least, that’s what it looks like on paper. Paul doesn’t sound so sure about that.
“Well, are you training?” Paul answered when asked about leaving the bench at the Las Vegas Summer Championships. “I don’t know what the situation is yet. … It will be a conversation for us when the camp begins.”
It is a good argument that the Warriors simply do not need Paul in their starting lineup, and that he will be much more fit to lead their second youngest unit. With Stephen Curry, Clay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, Draymond Green and Kevon Rooney having a very successful starting lineup, there is no need to press Paul into it if it is not easy.
Although he seemed a bit defiant there, Paul insisted that he did not care about his role in his new team. He hasn’t told the Warriors coach Steve Kerr specifically about it, and he won’t tell until the training camp starts this fall.
“In the end, it’s a basketball,” Paul said, through ESPN. “I’m going into a situation with a group of people who have been playing together for a long time. I’m not worried about it like everyone else… we’ll find out all that stuff at the training camp.
“You don’t have any answers right now. We’ll practice, and I’m sure there will be things I have to learn, they have to learn about me, but that’s what happens with any team.”
Paul averaged a career-low 13.9 points and 8.9 assists last season with the Phoenix Suns, third with the team. He was dealt to the Washington Wizards in June in a deal that sent Bradley Beal to Phoenix. Wizards then turned around and traded him to the Warriors a few days later for Poole and two future draft picks.
Paul, a 12-time All-Star, has two years left on a four-year, $120 million deal that he first signed with the Sun, thinking last year was not guaranteed. He hasn’t won a title in nearly two decades of his league career, although he joined the Warriors six times in the NBA Finals and won four titles in the last nine seasons.
While Paul, 38, no doubt reached the end of his career, he did not see the Warriors as his last trip in the league. He’ll have fun as long as he can.
“This is a sport. It’s fun,” Paul said, through ESPN. “It’s a job, but I can play basketball every day and say that’s my way of life. saya I’m not going to spend this time training and playing and hooping, time away from my family if I don’t like it the way I do. That’s not going to change.”