Based on previous battles, there was certainly no love lost between the Golden State Warriors and Chris Paul.
Their battles go as far back as 2014, when Paul’s Los Angeles Clippers knocked off the Warriors in seven games in the first round of the playoffs. Paul then moved to the Houston Rockets, who almost knocked off the Warriors (then with Kevin Durant), before missing 27 consecutive threes (none of which Paul was involved in due to a hamstring injury) in Game 7 of the 2018 Western Conference Finals and failing to topple the then defending champions.
Paul wasn’t sidelined by injury the following season, but the Rockets failed again to get past the Warriors, this time in the second round. After stints in Oklahoma City and Phoenix, Paul finds himself being involved again with the Warriors — but not as an adversary.
After a trade that sent Jordan Poole, Ryan Rollins, and a couple of picks to the Washington Wizards, Paul is now a Warrior — which makes the dynamic between himself and the Warriors’ core certainly an interesting one to monitor.
The Athletic’s Anthony Slater got Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson’s impressions of their new teammate. Thompson, in particular, expressed that having someone who was a former rival as a teammate was “a little weird.”
“Any time you get to play with a player who is one of the best of your generation it’s an honor. It’s a little weird because we’ve had so many battles in the past with Chris, and he’s led so many teams that nearly knocked us off or did knock us off all the way back in 2014. I think he’s just going to add such a calming presence and leadership component that we need. I know Steph and him have a long history together being both from North Carolina. For me, it’s going to be a smooth transition playing with such a passer and playmaker, I’m just excited.”
Curry mentioned the unexpected nature of the union but also said that it was the nature of the business, while also stating the need for winning next year and how Paul can help in that department.
“The business is crazy. We all know that. If you asked us six months ago if this was something that could happen, the answer probably would’ve been no just based on where we were. Then you get to the summer and are trying to find ways to get better and put yourself in a position to chase another championship. Every team that CP has been on gets better. That’s the most consistent thing about him, and who he is and what he brings to the team. Everybody’s going to talk about the age. It’s on us to put that all together and figure out how all the pieces work.”
Suffice to say, the Splash Brothers respect Paul and abilities, and had a significant say in Mike Dunleavy Jr.’s decision to pull the trigger on the deal. Otherwise, the trade for him may not have gone through, considering that the player exchanged for Paul is a 24-year-old guard who — at his best — was a productive starter-level player who was the Warriors’ sixth man when Curry was healthy.