LAS VEGAS — Chris Paul has history with the Golden State Warriors. For years it was a rival. Now it is as a member of the organization.
“My family couldn’t believe it either,” Paul said at his introductory press conference on Sunday at Summer League.
It’s been a few weeks since Paul was traded to the Warriors in a deal that sent Jordan Poole to the Washington Wizards.
The Warriors wanted a player they could trust to lead their second unit – he would be the field general, build their young bench and take care of the ball.
Paul said he hasn’t spoken to either the Warriors or coach Steve Kerr about the intricacies of his new role or whether he’ll even come off the bench, which he has never done in his 18-year NBA career.
“Ultimately, it’s basketball,” Paul said. “I get into a situation with some guys who have been playing together for a long time. I don’t worry about that as much as everyone else. … We’re going to sort this all out at camp.”
He continued: “They don’t have any answers at the moment. We’re going to practice, and I’m sure there will be things I need to learn about them, they need to learn things about me, but that’s the case with every team.”
Paul said he’s never played with anyone who can execute his shot as well as Stephen Curry. Nor has he played with someone like Klay Thompson, who once scored 60 points in a game by dribbling the ball just 11 times. Paul also noted how unique Draymond Green creates for others.
But he returned to stress that any new team must learn to work together, citing his pairings with Devin Booker and JJ Redick.
Paul knows the basic pillars of the Warriors franchise from all their duels years ago.
For several seasons, Paul’s job against Golden State was to defend Curry. Meanwhile, it was Thompson’s job to defend Paul. And Green’s competitive nature is exactly the kind of fire Paul sees in himself.
But as level-headed as Paul is, there is still a certain unbelief.
At a gym about 20 minutes from the Las Vegas Strip, Paul worked out with Curry — the first time they’ve worked out together since 2009.
“There are times when you have an opportunity to reflect,” Paul said. “Even at practice today we laughed. … It is a great opportunity and blessing to do this at our age, for he is not young either.”
Before Paul was substituted, there were questions about whether the 12-time All-Star was nearing the end of his career — particularly after missing 23 games last season through injury.
Paul doesn’t view his time at Golden State as the final curtain — “no question about it,” he said.
“It’s a sport. That is fun. It’s a job, but I can play basketball every day and say that’s my way of life, my family, if I didn’t love it the way I do. That won’t change.