Nobody can tell you how you’re supposed to feel when your favorite player leaves town — but these Gordon Hayward jersey-burning Jazz fans need to at least work on their zingers.
Hayward announced on the Fourth of July that he’d be leaving the Jazz and heading to Boston to reunite with his former Butler coach Brad Stevens on the Celtics. Understandably, fans in Utah are upset their All-Star is leaving in his peak — but those quips.
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Instead, Paul leaves a situation that had grown stale for one that is ready to bloom. The Rockets were one of the few credible challengers the Warriors had in the West last season and now they’ve added the greatest point guard of his generation to pair with James Harden. With CP3 on board, the Rockets have two top-10 players on their roster and only the Warriors and maybe the Thunder can say the same.
This is a bold move even if it does come with a potential downside. Paul is 32 years old and missed 21 games last season with a thumb injury. He’ll be looking for a massive extension next summer, thanks to a new provision in the collective bargaining agreement that Paul helped negotiate. The Rockets could wind up paying a premium price for the latter stages of his career.
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The fit with Harden is an interesting one because both players thrive with the ball in their hands. Both Paul and Harden are proud and stubborn and both are franchise players who run their respective offenses through their own unique games. Both are also smart as hell, and both will benefit from working with one of the game’s genius offensive minds in Mike D’Antoni.