Chris Paul says health issues are his biggest regret with Rockets

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In a new episode of the “No Chill with Gilbert Arenas” podcast, the former NBA player spoke with future Hall of Famer Chris Paul regarding a number of hot-button topics from his distinguished professional career.

One of those subjects, of course, involves Paul’s two-year stint with the Houston Rockets and his abrupt exit to Oklahoma City (via a trade for Russell Westbrook) in July 2019. In framing the discussion, Arenas led off by referencing the alleged on- and off-court friction between “CP3” and backcourt co-star James Harden. Among his comments:

I remember when you were over in Houston. And I said, ‘The only way they make it out is if James actually understands his gift and your gift.’ As a coach, you have to have that hard talk. And the hard talk is this, ‘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, however, steered the conversation in a different direction. As fans in Houston undoubtedly remember, Paul strained his right hamstring in the final seconds of Game 5 in the 2018 Western Conference finals, which the Rockets won to take a 3-2 series lead over the Warriors.

That injury prevented the 11-time All-Star from playing in the final two games, and the defending NBA champions rallied to win the series in seven games — and ultimately, a second straight NBA title. (Golden State swept Cleveland in the 2018 NBA Finals, which were a clear mismatch.)

From Houston’s perspective, they feel that it should have been them, if not for Paul’s injury. The Rockets easily had the league’s best record (65-17) in the 2017-18 regular season, and when Paul was on the court, they beat the Warriors in three out of five playoff games. For CP3, who still remains in pursuit of his first NBA title, that’s what he regrets most.

Paul’s response to Arenas:

You have to be able to have them conversations. 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.

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.

Now with the Phoenix Suns and coming off his first NBA Finals appearance, the 36-year-old is hoping for better luck in the upcoming 2021-22 season. Paul’s full interview with Arenas is available below.

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