Chris Paul on leaving the Clippers: ‘I felt like it was time for a change’

Chris Paul, Courtesy of USA Today Images

The trade of Chris Paul from the Los Angeles Clippers to the Houston Rockets back in June shook up the foundation of two Western Conference contenders.

For the Clippers, it was a way to get something in return for a player in Paul who already seemingly had one foot out the door. The trade itself was also a no-brainer for a Rockets team that now boasts one of the best backcourts in recent NBA history.

But when looking at his decision to orchestrate a trade from Southern California, the move in and of itself wasn’t easy for Paul.

“I feel like the last six years we’ve had a great run,” Paul said, via ESPN’s The Undefeated. “I felt like it was not only a good time for change for me, but for the team, too. Everyone says, ‘We get killed. We can’t get there. We just can’t get over the hurdle.’ I felt like it was time for change.”

To be fair, Paul and his former Clippers team failed to reach it to as much as the conference finals in any of his six seasons in Los Angeles.

With the Golden State Warriors showing domination over the past three years and the San Antonio Spurs handling business prior to that, Los Angeles was nothing more than a second-class citizen in the Western Conference.

But for Paul, the decision from an off-court perspective was much more difficult than it was from a basketball point of view.

“The funniest person I had to tell about it was my daughter. When I told her, she just looked at me and said, ‘Is Mommy coming?’ That’s the rawness of kids. My daughter is 4, and she don’t care where we go, she just wants her mommy there,” Paul said. “Little Chris was definitely the toughest. When I told him, he cried, which broke me down.”

Sometimes, we fail to understand just how difficult these decisions are for professional athletes. Sure Paul heading to the Rockets helps him compete for an NBA title.

But he has a family to uproot. He has children to worry about. He’s leaving behind a community in Los Angeles he’s done a lot of good for.

At the very least, Paul finally decided to open up. His reasoning is sound and his move to Houston appears to lift him into title contention over the short term. That can’t be considered a bad thing.