Bobby Brown Recruited Chris Paul to Houston

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Many big-name NBA players changed teams this offseason either through free agency or through trades. One of those players was Chris Paul, who was traded to the Houston Rockets by the Los Angeles Clippers after informing the team he wasn’t going to re-sign.

Much was written about the recruitment efforts of Rockets star guard and perennial MVP candidate James Harden. But there was another player on the Rockets who played a big behind the scenes role as well in luring the All-Star point guard to Houston. That player was Bobby Brown, who has known Paul since his days in New Orleans.

“That’s one of my good friends. We played together in New Orleans and we built a bond from then,” Brown told Basketball Insiders over the summer. “The basketball world is so small, once you build a bond with somebody that’s real cool and has a great personality, it’s almost like a no-brainer.”

Brown spent all four years of college at California State University, Fullerton, graduating in 2007 as the Titans all-time leading scorer. Prior to that, he starred at the famed Westchester High School in Los Angeles, teaming up with future NBA player and current Rockets teammate Trevor Ariza, under legendary coach Ed Azzam.

He went undrafted, however, and played for a year in Germany before a strong NBA summer league showing in 2008 with the then New Orleans Hornets earned him a guaranteed two-year deal with the Sacramento Kings.

After a year and a half, he was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves who then turned around and traded him to the Hornets, which is where he first met Paul. Their prior connection was a big reason why Paul listened when Brown came recruiting on behalf of Houston.

“Just to talk to him, to come to Houston, to be part of that, he’s a great guy and a great teammate,” Brown told Basketball Insiders. “It’s gonna be fun.”

Brown bounced around the NBA his first two years in the league. New Orleans traded him to the Clippers in 2010, where he spent half a season before heading overseas. He spent six years playing in Italy, Greece, Poland, China and Turkey before returning to the NBA last summer with the Rockets.

Like many professional basketball players with Los Angeles ties, Brown spends his summers playing in the famed Drew League. It was there that he caught the Rockets’ attention while playing on the same team with Harden, another Los Angeles product.

“Them seeing me and him play together out here, that definitely was a help,” Brown told Basketball Insiders.

Although Brown and Harden are not quite contemporaries, their LA ties are what bonds them together. Signing with the Rockets, however, did bring Brown back together with a childhood friend in Ariza. It’s not every day that going to work means hanging out with your childhood buddies, but for Brown, that’s a reality.

“We talk about that every day. Me and Trevor, we’ve been knowing each other since we were eight. We played AAU, went to middle school, high school, and then we’re with the same team in the NBA,” Brown told Basketball Insiders. “All three of us, me, James, and Trevor, from LA, and how we come to the Drew and play together, you couldn’t ask for a better situation.”

Ariza also played a key role in recruiting Paul to the Rockets. Although they surprised many and finished with a top three record in the Western Conference, the Rockets faltered in the playoffs and were eliminated in the second round by the San Antonio Spurs.

Along with Paul, the Rockets also bolstered their perimeter defense by adding P.J. Tucker and Luc Mbah A Moute. Both are among the top wing defenders in the league and could come in handy when facing teams like the Golden State Warriors and Oklahoma City Thunder, which have a lot of perimeter scoring depth. According to Brown, the new additions will definitely help the team.

“We’re gonna build our bond like we did last year with all the new guys,” Brown told Basketball Insiders. “Everybody’s gonna be pushing each other to the limits so there’s gonna be no mishaps during the season.”

While it remains to be seen where the Rockets will eventually finish in the revamped Western Conference, one thing is for certain, they will be a force to be reckoned with.

“CP and James, two of the best players in the NBA, those two are gonna be pushing each other the whole season,” Brown told Basketball Insiders. “I think we’re gonna be way better than we were last season.”