Chris Paul and James Harden once formed one of the most feared and respected duos in the NBA. As members of the Houston Rockets, the pair enjoyed immense success – at one point pushing the Golden State Warriors to the brink in the 2017-18 Western Conference Finals.
Despite the good run they had together in Houston, Paul and Harden parted on bad terms. The former, specifically, seemed to have a lot of ill will for the latter.
In a fairly stunning interview that took place in 2020, Paul absolutely went off on Harden – essentially stating that they no longer had a relationship.
This week, Paul appeared on the No Chill with Gilbert Arenas podcast. While doing the show, he once again opened up about his time playing alongside Harden.
“I remember when you were over in Houston,” Arenas said to Paul. “And I said, ‘the only way they make it out is if James actually understands his gift and your gift … James, up until the fourth quarter, last five minutes, it’s your game. The last five minutes, the ball is in CP’s hands.”
Paul seemed to take that sentiment to heart.
“You have to be able to have them conversations,” Paul said. “And the thing that frustrated me the most was that first year, I wasn’t healthy. It’s crazy. Them years in Houston are kinda a blur, to a certain extent, because there was so much going on at the time. But dang, we was good. We was real good.”
Paul also made sure to give Harden due credit.
“And James, I still say it, can’t nobody score the ball like he can. It’s crazy, man. … I wouldn’t trade any experience or whatnot, but I wish we would’ve had some of those conversations. But most of all, I wish I would’ve been able to stay healthy.”
Obviously Paul is taking a far different tone this year than he did in his last interview regarding Harden. Whether that is because he is so content with the successful campaign the Phoenix Suns had in 2020-21 or for some other reason is unclear. But he definitely seems more at peace with what transpired, even if regrets do clearly still exist.
Pat Riley confirms what everyone already knew about Tyler Herro. https://t.co/YIruP0wvXr
— Game 7 (@game7__) September 5, 2021
A few weeks ago, Harden went viral after making some pretty blunt comments about his new Brooklyn Nets teammates, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. It seems that he, much like Paul, is in a reflective place right now.
With both Harden and Paul now on legitimate title contenders in the Suns and Nets, it’s very possible we’ll see the two square off in the NBA Finals next season. And if that happens – fireworks will most certainly go off.