Houston, we might have a potentially significant problem on our hands. And it is reportedly coming from the most unlikely of locations.
A report from ESPN's Tim McMahon detailed "turmoil" on several levels of the Rockets organization, which included supposed beef between star guards James Harden and Chris Paul.
It goes without saying that the Rockets wouldn't have made it anywhere near the Western Conference Semifinals if not for Harden's historic regular season, during which he averaged an astounding 36 points per game. But, even that wasn't enough for CP3, who, according to McMahon tried to coach The Beard throughout the regular season and playoffs.
Looks like there might be a little trouble in Houston ? pic.twitter.com/5yTDqZkhyh— Yahoo Sports NBA (@YahooSportsNBA) June 17, 2019
Don't kid yourselves, folks. That wasn't the only damning quote.
"Paul pushed for more plays and sets in the Houston offense, more screening and deception, despite Harden being in the process of putting together a historically dominant individual offensive season," wrote McMahon.
Report: James Harden Thinks Chris Paul Talks Too Much For Someone Who Can’t Beat His Man Off The Dribble. CP3 Tired of ISO Ball, Owner Complains About CP3’s Deal & D’Antoni is a Lame Duck (Video) https://t.co/mOgbeY6xKD pic.twitter.com/u7PpMOGXvl— Robert Littal (@BSO) June 17, 2019
Sources close to the ESPN reporter even noted that Paul was regularly irritated at Harden's "tendency" to ignore the unremarkable dynamics that contribute to winning basketball, such as creating space. Paul detailed how Harden rarely moved after giving up the ball and how this severely hindered Houston's offense.
Paul's criticism is utterly shocking when you consider how effortlessly him and Harden appear to jive on the court. And they're marginally ignorant when you remember just how much CP3 declined and faded in the postseason.
"Chris (Paul) wants to coach James (Harden)," the source said. "James looks at him like, 'You can't even beat your man. Just shut up and watch me.'"— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) June 17, 2019
A LOT of drama in Houston.
More: https://t.co/jzmECP7j9B pic.twitter.com/rv62ehKQjF
If true, this is unquestionably a rift that the two superstars must address and patch up before next season -- a season that, thanks to the injuries to Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson -- positions Houston with a stellar opportunity to finally get over the hump and reach the Finals.