Can the Houston Rockets Catch Golden State Warriors After Chris Paul Trade? Don't Make Kevin Durant Laugh

Daryl Morey, the general manager of the Houston Rockets, didn't mince his words in the aftermath of a blockbuster trade on Wednesday for Chris Paul.

"It's a weapons race in the NBA, and you're either in the weapons race or on the sidelines. We felt with Harden in his prime, Chris Paul in his prime, this gives us a real shot to chase the juggernaut teams that are out there and puts us right there with them," Morey said, quoted by ESPN.

He didn't have to name the Golden State Warriors, because the implication was obvious. The Rockets—like the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference—have come to the conclusion that the only way to answer a machine gun is with artillery fire.

By giving up a first-round pick in 2018, plus a mixture of prospects and veteran talent including All-Defensive guard Patrick Beverley and former NBA Sixth Man of the Year Lou Williams, the Rockets have fully entered win-now mode.

Perhaps Morey had no choice. The Rockets have suffered as much as anyone in the regular season against the Warriors, losing eight in a row before a double-overtime win on December 1.

The 4-2 defeat in the Western Conference semifinals to the San Antonio Spurs came amid a James Harden malfunction. The Rockets have given Harden elite help and denied the Spurs an asset that might have put them over the top. ESPN reported at the start of June that Paul was under serious consideration as a solution to the Spurs' point guard problem, amid worries over the health and long-term future of Tony Parker.

Of course there are no guarantees about how two ball-dominant guards are going to work together. The Ringer points out that Paul possessed the ball for the most minutes of any NBA player last season, with Harden seventh. It's a good job sports aren't played on paper as they would be really boring.

Kevin Durant had his say on Wednesday, tweeting tears of laughter to a fan who asked him how he was going to handle Harden and Paul together.


— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) June 28, 2017

But the Rockets at least may have made the Warriors sit up a little and prick up their ears. If, as rumored, they can land Paul George or Carmelo Anthony too, the Western Conference may turn into a proper battle.