After pushing the Warriors almightily close in the Western Conference finals, the Rockets enter the 2018 offseason with the sole aim of ensuring they return next year with a better chance to get past the back-to-back champs.
A big part of that was ensuring that they locked down the services of their floor general, Chris Paul, for the foreseeable future.
Paul's deal expired at the end of the 2018 season, and the promise of resigning on a max contract was part of the reason he worked so hard to orchestrate a trade from the Clippers last year.
The nine-time All Star was hugely influential in his first season in Houston, averaging 18.6 points and 7.9 rebounds per game whilst propelling the Rockets to an NBA-best 65-17 record alongside league MVP James Harden in the backcourt.
Paul's absence in games six and seven of the playoff series against Golden State will long be argued as the reason that Houston couldn't close out and make it to the finals, but Rockets fans will be delighted that their star point guard will seemingly be back for the foreseeable future.
Paul reportedly agreed to sign a four-year $160 million maximum deal with Houston, Saturday per ESPN.
The 33-year-old reportedly never considered leaving, despite the odd rumour that he could look to link up with longtime friend LeBron James elsewhere.
Instead, it looks like Paul will attempt to recruit James to join up with himself and Harden in the deep south in pursuit of taking the Warriors down together.
Even without James' committing, Paul seemed pretty hyped to be back in Houston, taking to Twitter to express his excitement at signing a new deal.
'UNFINISHED BUSINESS...RUN IT BACK' Paul wrote.
It's a deal that also gives the Rockets some room to work with their other top free agents, namely Clint Capela. But, in a blow for the team, news did break later in the evening that versatile forward Trevor Ariza would be moving on to sign a one-year $15 million deal with the Suns.
Losing Ariza's shooting, defense, and veteran presence in the rotation is a sizeable loss, but securing Paul's services long term is a far bigger win for Daryl Morey than Ariza's departure is a defeat.
And, his departure frees up more cap room to make a potential run at the biggest prize of them all in James.
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