The NBA took a massive power shift Wednesday with the Clippers trading point guard Chris Paul to the Rockets for seven players, a 2018 first-round pick (protected Nos. 1-3) and $661,000.
Houston GM Daryl Morey is going all in on a mission to compete with the Warriors and he believes the Rockets are now there with the pairing of Paul and MVP runner-up James Harden.
"You know, it's a guards-based league. It's a weapons race in the NBA and you're either in the weapons race or on the sidelines," Morey said at the team's press conference, as captured by Mark Berman of Houston's FOX 26. "With James Harden in his prime and Chris Paul in his prime, this gives us a real shot to chase the juggernaut teams in this league."
Paul, who turned 32 in May, is a nine-time All-Star. He spent his last six seasons with the Clippers and averaged 18.1 points, 9.2 assists and 5.0 rebounds per game during the 2016-17 season in 61 games played.
This past season, Harden became a primary point guard for the first time under Mike D'Antoni's fast-paced offense and the bearded lefty excelled in his new position. Harden led the NBA with 11.2 assists per game while putting up 29.1 points per game.
Houston received guards Patrick Beverley and Lou Williams, forwards Sam Dekker and Montrezl Harrell, plus the non-guaranteed deals of DeAndre Liggins, Darrun Hilliard and Kyle Wiltjer from Los Angeles.
The Rockets went 55-27 last season, four games ahead of the Clippers, but were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs to the Spurs.
NEW YORK -- Basketball's newest league started with a game-winning basket and an injured former NBA player.
Rashard Lewis made a three-point play with his team facing game point Sunday in the opening game of the Big3, the 3-on-3 basketball league co-founded by Ice Cube.
Jason Williams, the flashy point guard nicknamed "White Chocolate," went down with a right leg injury late in the game. His 3 Headed Monsters blew the late once he went out and were a point away from losing, but Lewis made his basket and free throw to edge the Ghost Ballers, 62-60.
The games are played to 60 points but teams have to win by two, so the Ghost Ballers couldn't quite get there when they went ahead 60-59.
Lewis scored 27 points and former No. 1 pick Kwame Brown had 17 points and 13 rebounds for the 3 Headed Monsters. Ricky Davis led the Ghost Ballers with 23 points.
Cube vowed the games would be competitive - players are vying for a revenue share based on final league standings - and there was a possession early when players on both teams dived on the floor for a loose ball. There was pushing and shoving in the post and a few hard fouls, and the trash talk appeared to heat up as the game went on.
The quality of play wasn't the strongest, but Barclays Center in Brooklyn had a good crowd for the first of four games on the day. Allen Iverson, the former NBA MVP who is the marquee attraction in the league, was scheduled to play in the third game.
The eight-team league will play on 10 weekends, culminating with the Aug. 26 championship in Las Vegas. Games are shown on Monday nights on Fox Sports 1.
OAKLAND -- The Warriors spent the Thursday night hoping for a chance to pounce on a player they liked in the NBA draft. That chance came in the second round.
And, like the 2016 draft, with the 38th overall pick.
Buying the pick from the Bulls, the Warriors wound up with Oregon’s Jordan Bell, a 6-foot-9 center/forward that as a junior in 2016-17 was named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year.
Bell possesses a wingspan a fraction shy of 7-feet and bears, by some accounts, similarities to Draymond Green inasmuch as there is a strong desire to defend and a deep reservoir of energy.
The Long Beach Poly product led the conference in field-goal percentage (63.6) while shooting almost exclusively in the paint. Bell was sixth among Pac-12 rebounders at 8.8 per game and 13th in steals at 1.3 per game.
Bell needed only three seasons became the Ducks all-time leader in blocks and during the NCAA Tournament became the first player since Hakeem Olajuwon (in 1985) to snag at least 12 rebounds in five consecutive tournament games.