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Is Chris Paul Getting Traded to Warriors More Surprising than Kevin Durant Signing with the Warriors?

The NBA world was stunned by the news that Chris Paul was traded to the Golden State Warriors in a blockbuster deal that sent Jordan Poole and draft picks to the Washington Wizards. The trade was shocking for many reasons, but mainly because it involved two of the biggest rivals in the league: Chris Paul and Stephen Curry. When it was announced that Kevin Durant signed with Golden State, it seemed like there would never be more perplexing moment in this day and age, but here’s why we think CP3 to the Warriors might be more surprising.

The Rivalry Between Stephen Curry and Chris Paul

Chris Paul and Stephen Curry have a long history of personal animosity on the court, dating back to Paul’s days with the Los Angeles Clippers. One of the most memorable moments of their rivalry was when Curry made Paul fall with a behind-the-back baseline move in 2015, a play that went viral on social media. Paul later allegedly admitted that he was embarrassed by the crossover, but also said that he respected Curry as a competitor.

The rivalry intensified when Paul joined the Houston Rockets in 2017, and faced Curry and the Warriors in two consecutive Western Conference Finals. In 2018, Paul had one of his best playoff performances, including a clutch three-pointer over Curry that he celebrated with a shimmy, mocking Curry’s signature move. However, Paul suffered a hamstring injury in the final minute of that game, and missed Game 7, which the Rockets lost.

It continued three months ago, when Paul and Curry met again in a regular season matchup. Curry taunted Paul by saying, “This ain’t 2014 anymore” after scoring on him in the fourth quarter. The gesture seemed like polite way of him calling CP3 old and washed up. The funniest thing about that situation was CP3 claiming he had no idea what it meant.


The Sequence of Events that Led to the CP3 to Warriors Trade

The trade that sent Paul to the Warriors was even more surprising, because of the circumstances that led to it. First, the Suns traded Paul to the Wizards as part of the Beal deal. Second, the Wizards traded Paul to the Warriors for Poole, who had emerged as one of the most promising young players in the league.

Poole averaged 20 points per game last season, and stayed mature after Draymond Green knocked him out with a sucker punch at the beginning of last season in a practice scuffle. Many people thought that the Warriors would choose to stick with Poole for the next four years over Green, who has now opted out of his contract. It’s possible that both Green and Poole will be on a new teams by the start of next season.

Do Warriors Even Need Chris Paul?

The trade also raised questions about how Paul would fit with the Warriors, who seemed to have different needs this offseason. Most people thought that the Warriors would make a big move that would address their lack of size and depth in the paint, especially after how they lost the Lakers. Rather, they traded for Paul, who is old, slow, and struggles on defense. Paul also likes to control the tempo and run a methodical offense, which could clash with the Warriors’ fast-paced and free-flowing style. Did they want to get rid of Jordan Poole’s contract that bad?

The reasons above are why we believe Chris Paul getting traded to the Warriors is more surprising than Kevin Durant signing with them in 2016, and dare I say more intriguing too? Durant’s decision was shocking, because he joined a team that had just beaten him in the playoffs after losing a 3-1 lead, and had won 73 games in the regular season.

Paul’s trade is more surprising, because it involves his personal rival Curry, his former teammate Poole, and a series of unexpected events that made it possible. It also seems like Paul is not what the Warriors need right now, and could actually hurt their chances of winning. Is Stephen Curry being a full time shooting guard a good thing, or will CP3 play that position kind of like Allen Iverson? The trade is one of the most stunning, and intriguing moves in NBA history.

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