What Chris Paul told Thunder coach Billy Donovan when they first met after trade
When Chris Paul and Billy Donovan met for the first time after the Oklahoma City Thunder acquired Paul from the Houston Rockets, the future Hall of Famer had a simple yet powerful message for the Thunder head coach.
Paul, one of the fiercest competitors in NBA history, told Donovan he was fully committed to playing for the Thunder despite what everyone on the outside was saying, via Michael Lee of The Athletic:
“He told me, ‘Coach, I only know one way. I’ve got both feet in the circle. I’m going to give you everything I got. I’m here to help the group and try to win,’ ” Billy Donovan said of that first conversation with Chris Paul. “He said, ‘All this other stuff going on, I love the game, I love competing and I can’t do anything halfway.’ ”
Paul felt it was important to be upfront with Donovan and make sure there wasn’t any concerns about his commitment or intentions.
“No question. You’ve got to communicate with people,” he said. “If not, people will tell stories and write stories, they get to tell your story. I’ve always been that way, maybe overcommunicate. But I’d rather everybody know how I feel. Everybody in the locker room know how I feel. As long as they know, it don’t matter what the story say.”
Behind Paul, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Dennis Schroder and Steven Adams, the Thunder are 21-16 on the season and have exceeded expectations. Most pundits thought the Thunder would be rebuilding after losing stars Paul George and Russell Westbrook, but OKC is in the seventh spot in the Western Conference standings and has been playing good basketball so far this season.
Paul is averaging 16.6 points, 5.1 rebounds and 6.5 assists for the Thunder. He’s shooting 47.0 percent from the field, 37.3 percent from beyond the arc and 90.5 percent from the free-throw line.