Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey finally got the player he’d been trying to get for years when he made the blockbuster trade with the Los Angeles Clippers to acquire 9-time All-Star Chris Paul right before NBA free agency officially opened.
Morey joined The Jim Rome Show Monday on CBS Sports Radio and said Paul is someone he has long targeted and a guy who is undervalued in many eyes.
“Someone who we have been obsessed with for a long time,” Morey said about Paul. “I mean we tried to trade for him a few years ago when he ended up going to the Clippers.”
“I think he’s one of the best point guards to ever play the game. Unfortunately, not always generally regarded that because he hasn’t gone as far in the playoffs. I think mostly because the team around hasn’t been strong enough. We feel like we have the team around him now with James Harden and our supporting cast to go deep in the playoffs.”
Morey said he’s lost no sleep worrying about ball-dominant players like Paul and Harden coexisting.
“If either James Harden or Chris Paul or Mike D ’Antoni felt like it couldn’t work, but they’ve all worked together, they all feel very good about it,” Morey said about sleeping at night. “We had a workout in Vegas where they played together for a couple hours, and I got tingles. I was pretty excited. They’re both smart players who work on and off the ball, so we’re confident it will work.”
The 2016-17 NBA Champion Golden State Warriors greatness clearly motivates Morey, who was asked what it would mean if his Rockets could derail their championship run. “I think it would be one of the greatest things of my life.”
Morey continued, “They’re one of the all-time great teams but the teams as good as them have been knocked off and that’s one of the reasons we are all in sports and love sports is nothing is guaranteed and bigger upsets have happened. Then somehow, if we’re lucky enough to knock off the Golden State Warriors next year, and we do take it as motivation cause normally if you win 55-60 games that gives you a pretty good chance of winning the title. 10 to 20 percent chance of winning the title unfortunately with Golden State being where they are at, those odds are too low and that’s why we felt like we had to continue to go for folks like Chris Paul and continue to try and upgrade the team and it does keep us up every day focused on trying to beat them.”
However, Morey made it clear there is a lot more work to get done for them to be in position to beat Golden State.
“They are one of the all-time great teams. I don’t know if there’s any combination of players we can add that would close the gap completely,” Morey said. “I do think we’ve moved a lot closer to them. I do think we’ve made ourselves much better positioned to give ourselves a chance to beat them in a seven games series.”
Morey said Golden State is so great that conversations on how to beat them are absolutely crazy. “There are thought experiments going on around in the NBA at the Vegas Summer League about if you took players on every team, not on Cleveland and Golden State could you assemble a team that would for sure beat Golden State and I’m not sure. If those type of questions are happening, you know that it’s going to be a tough road to beat them.”
As for the Carmelo Anthony to Houston rumors, Morey would not talk about the New York Knicks player specifically but said they’re still looking for elite players.
“I think we have to continue to take risks because the gap between Golden State and the rest of the league is so high. We have to continue to take risks to add to the group,” Morey said. “And I’ve said it before, any time you can add players from the USA Basketball team to compete with Golden State, it’s usually a good thing.”