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Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta’s message to Chris Paul after trade to Thunder

Tilman Fertitta, Chris Paul, Rockets

Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta paid homage to Chris Paul in the wake of the trade that sent Paul to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for Russell Westrbook. Fertitta thanked Paul for his contributions to the organization over the course of the last two seasons:

Fertitta purchased the Rockets for $2.2 billion prior to the start of the 2017-18 season, which would end up being the winningest season in franchise history, and nearly resulted in a berth in the NBA Finals.

Paul had been a major reason for Houston’s success that season, averaging 18.6 points, 7.9 assists and 5.4 rebounds while shooting 38 percent from beyond the arc. He upped his scoring in the playoffs as well, and the Rockets were simply unable to recover from his absence in Game 6 and Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals against the Golden State Warriors.

Given his performance, the Rockets rewarded Paul with a four-year contract worth close to $160 million. But Paul missed 24 more games this past season, and he struggled to make plays or shoot from the perimeter as the Rockets were bounced by the Warriors in the playoffs for the second consecutive year.

With Houston general manager Daryl Morey desperately looking for ways to land another impact player, he flipped Paul for Westbrook, sending a slew of future first-round picks to the Thunder as well.

Time will tell how the move pays off for both teams, but Paul has proven that he is still an elite point guard in the NBA. Though he is not as quick or durable as he used to be, Paul’s numbers in Houston without James Harden on the floor speak to his impact on the game:

Can Paul find a way to lead a young Thunder team to the playoffs in a loaded Western Conference?