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Chris Paul denies trade demand, says he wants to be a Rocket: ‘I’ll be in Houston … I’m happy about that’

Chris Paul is not leaving the Houston Rockets.

According to the veteran point guard, he never demanded a trade and iterated that he’s remaining in Houston, via Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle.

“I never asked for a trade,” Paul said. “I never demanded a trade.”

“I’ll be in Houston,” Paul said. “I’m happy about that. I’m very happy about that. I’m good.”

Rumors have been swirling over the past couple of weeks that Paul wanted out of Houston due to a rift with star James Harden. Further escalating those rumors are reports that the Rockets have placed everyone — outside of Harden — on the trade block in an effort to increase their chances of winning an NBA championship next season.

The Rockets have been eliminated from the postseason four out of the past five years by the Golden State Warriors. Paul touched upon the subject of coming up just short of the ultimate goal of winning a championship the past two seasons playing for the Rockets.

“There’s only team that wins at the end of the year, you know what I mean?” Paul said. “Since I went to Houston, from Day 1, it’s been about winning games. It’s always about winning games.”

With Kevin Durant likely out for the 2019-20 season and Klay Thompson sidelined until at least February with injuries, there’s an opening to win a championship in 2020. With the Warriors diminished, the Rockets have a legit chance at advancing to the NBA Finals for the first time with this current core.

That said, it’s still unclear whether the Rockets will keep Paul in their plans for the 2019-20 season. Houston doesn’t have the cap space currently to make a big difference in free agency without trading some veterans. 

Paul was the second-highest paid player in the NBA at a cap figure of $35.6 million. Considering his average salary is just under $40 million over the duration of his current four-year contract, the Rockets would likely benefit the most from trading the 34-year-old point guard for a package of players.

Although it’s up to the front office as to whether Paul is retained, one thing is for certain — the veteran point guard wants to remain in Houston.