Warriors

NBA rumors: Chris Paul wants out of Houston, Stephen A. Smith hears

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AP

NBA rumors: Chris Paul wants out of Houston, Stephen A. Smith hears

Houston, you have a problem.

The James Harden-Chris Paul arrangement on the Rockets could be ending soon.

And it comes at a bad time for the Rockets, who now could have a chance for the 2020 NBA championship with the Warriors licking their wounds from a brutal Finals loss.

ESPN's Stephen A. Smith dropped this bit of news on his radio show Friday while talking to NBA insider Brian Windhorst.

"In the end, it's this: With Kevin Durant out, with Klay Thompson out for most of the season, one could argue the Houston Rockets now have a window to get to the NBA Finals," Smith said. "But you're also hearing Chris Paul wants out, Chris Paul wouldn't mind going somewhere else, preferrably LA, maybe, we don't know, with LeBron. We don't know. But you're hearing he wants out."

Smith dropped the "Los Angeles" nugget before the Lakers agreed to acquire All-Star big man Anthony Davis in a trade with the Pelicans on Saturday.

The Lakers will have between $27 million and $32 million left in salary-cap space, so they could try to acquire Paul to fill their point guard hole. But the New York Times reported that the Lakers have their eyes on free agent Kemba Walker, a much younger option.

Paul's remaining contract could be an issue, though. He's owed $38.5 million in 2019-20, just over $41 million in 2020-21 and just over $44 million in 2021-22.

"I would never say that CP3's untradeable," Windhorst said. "He's tradeable, for sure. But he's not tradeable in a way that makes their team better."

If the Rockets break up their two-headed monster, you can give the Warriors a large hand in causing its demise. Golden State has ended Houston's season each of the last two years. The Rockets believed they were better than the Warriors, but each season, they were proven wrong.

[RELATED: Lakers start arms race to dethrone Warriors]

Under the Warriors' watch, the Los Angeles Clippers, led by Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, broke up. The LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers broke up after four consecutive NBA Finals matchups. Soon, the Rockets could be the next team to come crashing down because they were unable to get past Golden State.

NBA rumors: Team USA considering D'Angelo Russell as World Cup replacement

NBA rumors: Team USA considering D'Angelo Russell as World Cup replacement

After playing in five straight NBA Finals, Steph Curry and Draymond Green have a ton of extra miles on their legs, and Klay Thompson is recovering from surgery on his torn left ACL.

But Warriors newcomer D'Angelo Russell doesn't have the same wear and tear, which is why he could find himself playing for Team USA in the FIBA World Cup later this summer.

The Athletic's Joe Vardon reported Monday that Team USA is considering adding Russell as a replacement on the roster that will compete in China.

Russell is under consideration because a plethora of marquee stars have withdrawn from the competition in recent days to focus on the 2019-20 NBA season.

On Monday alone, Philadelphia 76ers forward Tobias Harris and No. 1 overall draft pick Zion Williamson pulled out of the event. Anthony Davis, James Harden, Bradley Beal, C.J. McCollum and Eric Gordon also have withdrawn in recent days. Vardon reported Monday that Damian Lillard and Kevin Love are expected to make their decisions in the coming days.

Russell had a breakout 2018-19 season with the Brooklyn Nets and earned his first All-Star Game selection. In 81 games, the former No. 2 overall draft pick averaged 21.1 points and 7.0 assists in 30.2 minutes.

The Warriors acquired Russell earlier in July as part of the sign-and-trade deal that sent Kevin Durant to the Nets.

[RELATED: Can Poole earn a rotation spot?]

While the Warriors probably would prefer if Russell rested and got ready for his first season with the team, experiencing the Team USA environment and playing in high-level competition could be beneficial for the 23-year-old. Getting a taste of winning can't hurt, either.

Steph Curry, Klay Thompson the No. 2 duo in NBA, Stephen A Smith says

Steph Curry, Klay Thompson the No. 2 duo in NBA, Stephen A Smith says

There are a bunch of incredible duos in the NBA. It isn't easy narrowing down the top five, let alone the order.

But on Monday morning, ESPN's Stephen A. Smith provided his list on "First Take."

5) James Harden and Russell Westbrook -- Rockets
4) Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving -- Nets
3) Kawhi Leonard and Paul George -- Clippers
2) Steph Curry and Klay Thompson -- Warriors
1) LeBron James and Anthony Davis -- Lakers

Smith offered high praise to the Splash Brothers:

"It's very simple. The greatest shooting backcourt in the history of basketball. Never before have we seen a duo that can shoot the basketball like this.

"When these two brothers return together healthy, I got news for you -- sleep on the Golden State Warriors if you want to because you don't know basketball.

"They're gonna have something to say about stuff when all is said and done."

What about Draymond Green?

"I think Steph and Draymond are more of a tandem than anyone," fellow ESPN host Max Kellerman said. "Now it's true you need a third guy to space the floor and shoot. Without Klay, it doesn't work as well.

"But you can take other guys who can shoot the three. Steph and Draymond are the pick-and-roll -- that's the whole league.

"When you reduce the Warriors down to their basic component, Dray is the No. 2 guy."

It's hard to disagree with Kellerman on this one, but it's understandable why Smith went with Klay because he was focusing on offensive firepower.

[RELATEDWhy Gottlieb is very wrong about Draymond's place in NBA]

Unfortunately, the five-time All-Star is expected to miss a large chunk of next season as he recovers from a torn left ACL.

Hello D'Angelo Russell...

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