NBA

Chris Paul decided for Spurs because he wants to play and contribute before retiring

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One of the oldest players in the league still thinks he has a lot to contribute to any NBA franchise, but understands that he prefers to play for a team under construction, than aspire to win another championship in a title-contending squad. This is Chris Paul’s interpretation on what he’s pursuing in the twilight of his successful career. 

This explains why the point guard decided to go to San Antonio this summer, a team that just produced a 22-60 campaign, but that is building a team that they hope will bring back trophies led by Victor Wembanyama, the reigning Rookie of the Year.

“I love nothing more than the opportunity to play and contribute and hoop,” the veteran said during Tuesday’s introductory press conference with the Spurs. It is well known that Paul was convinced to sign a one-year deal in Texas after speaking with coach Gregg Popovich.

About this partnership with the legendary tactician, CP3 guaranteed that it is “an honor and a privilege” to play for him during this stage of his career. The 75-year-old had already called him “one of the best competitors” in the league, and knows how much he will be able to contribute to his growing team.

“Obviously, I’ve admired Pop from afar for years, and when you’re in this for a while, as he’s done for a long time, there’s so much respect there,” the former Warriors player said. “Not only for his basketball IQ but just for who he is as a person, as a competitor and all of that.”

In a more personal note, Paul’s loved ones will stay behind in California while he completes his contract. “My family is everything. My wife is here, my kids are back in L.A., and that’s where they will be during the season,” Chris expressed. “And I love basketball so much that I could be close to home, but if I’m not playing, I’m not happy.

“And I love my family to death. So, when we saw this opportunity, even though it’ll put me away from my family, my family knows me better than anybody and they know that I just want to play. I want to play more than anything. And that’s why I’m grateful for them and more so grateful to be here.”

San Antonio happens to be the team that Paul has competed more against in his 19-year career, with 81 clashes in total

While discussing his career that has spanned for almost two decades, the veteran guard said he didn’t think there’s a team he’s played more against than San Antonio, and he’s not wrong. Since he made his debut in 2005, the athlete has confronted the Spurs in 81 different occasions.

Now, he’s joined last season’s youngest roster as an 39-year-old, and admitted he can’t wait to help Wembanyama grow into the superstar he’s set to become. “I played against [Wembanyama] this season, and I tell you there’s probably no player in the league that everybody in the league talks about after the game like him,” Paul shared. “Everybody has to adjust to stuff.”

Another player who just arrived in Texas to compete next to Chris, is Harrison Barnes, who had signed a three-year, $54 million extension deal last summer in Sacramento. However, he was considered expendable as his former organization pursued to sign DeMar DeRozan.

“It’s funny, with the new CBA, the trade kicker became more of a play than I was expecting, but I think the opportunity just to come here and to be able play for Pop and play with this group I think is exciting,” said the 32-year-old forward.