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Houston prepared to pay Chris Paul the max

Chris Paul, Rockets

The Houston Rockets intend to honor their word to Chris Paul, who rode out the last season of his contract after a trade from the L.A. Clippers, fully expecting to chase down that max free agent contract in this offseason to return to Clutch City.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski noted the Rockets are prepared to put their money where their mouth is and pay Paul as handsomely as he was expecting to be last season.

“I have no indication at all that Houston is going to blink,” said Wojnarowski on ESPN Radio (h/t Tommy Beer of NBC Sports) “They knew when they traded for Chris Paul that they did it for the long haul… They’re trying to win a title in the short term.”

Paul is 33-years-old and this is likely the last long-term contract he will sign in his career. Yet his fragile frame at 6-foot and 180 pounds has already seemed to suffer plenty of blows, missing out in parts of the last three postseasons with different injuries.

Committing to Paul for a max deal will make it a rather thin margin of error for keeping the likes of Clint Capela and Trevor Ariza, who will have expiring contracts in the very near future.

James Harden’s supermax extension has him locked for four years and $169 million, starting in the 2019-20 season, a deal that will make Paul’s own deal difficult to swallow over the next few years, likely unable to yield any big free agents, so long as this All-Star backcourt is in the books.