Chris Paul’s three-part ESPN mini-documentary, Chris Paul’s Chapter 3 (you wear no. 3; we get it, Chris), provides a behind-the-scenes look at the veteran point guard’s offseason, including the decision-making process that led him to choose Houston over a return to the L.A. Clippers. Some of the “real talk” feels a bit staged, as if Paul was trying to get ahead of any possible backlash to teaming up with James Harden. But it also brought a lot of what we didn’t know to the surface. Below are the five things we learned from the series.
Paul Considered Going to Boston
At a sit-down luncheon with Disney CEO Bob Iger (???) in what appears to be a conference room, Paul laid out his potential destinations: Clippers, San Antonio, Houston, or Boston. The Spurs are no surprise; the franchise was rumored to be in the mix all summer, though they had to figure out the contract and cap-space logistics. But Paul added that he wasn’t sure how much longer Gregg Popovich, 68, would be coaching, at one point speculating that Pop could retire in a year or two.
But the Celtics? Of all the rumored free agents and trades Boston was reportedly involved with this summer (Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, of course, and also Paul George and Jimmy Butler, to name a few), Paul was not one of the names.
“Boston could be interesting,” Iger, a 66-year-old businessman whose company owns ESPN, said to the professional basketball player who plays basketball for a living in the National Basketball Association. “I wouldn’t count them out.”
Thanks, Bob. Paul agreed, but added that with the assets that Boston was working with (i.e., the no. 1 pick) the team might not be interested.
“It would actually be kind of dumb for them to pay me $35 million,” he said. “I don’t know. They won’t hurt my feelings, but at least they need to let me know if they’re even interested.”
Things Were Way Worse With the Clippers Than We Even Thought
Paul asked Iger, “As much as we talk,” — (again, ??? He gossips to … Bob Iger?) — “what do you think is the biggest thing hurting the Clippers?”
“The culture,” Paul said, answering himself. This could be a shot to a number of individual Clips, as Paul was rumored in the past to have beef with [deep breath] Austin Rivers, Doc Rivers, DeAndre Jordan, Blake Griffin, and even Big Baby. But for as much as it seemed like he rubbed teammates the wrong way on the court, pestering refs and demanding the most out of his teammates, what Paul said bothered him most was that no one wanted to hang out off the court.
“When I was in New Orleans, we did stuff together,” he told Jay-Z. “As a team. Like, we did stuff together. So when I brought that up, guys would be like, ‘Do we got to go?’ And I’m looking, like, ‘Do you got to go?’”
To be fair, I wouldn’t go bowling with this guy either.
According to Paul, the rest of the Clippers seemed complacent with the mild success they were having. That’s not very on-par with what someone as competitive as Paul strives for, especially in the twilight of his prime. Was the team even interested in trying to beat the Warriors, he pondered? Off the court, CP3 says he loved L.A. But with basketball, he was “bored.”
Doc, speaking before the Clippers’ first post-Paul regular-season game, apparently caught some of his former point guard’s comments:
“When you leave you should just leave. Don’t try to burn the house down.” - Doc on CP3 pic.twitter.com/0dUhdSGbVF— Paolo Uggetti (@PaoloUggetti) October 20, 2017
WHERE DID THIS BOB IGER FRIENDSHIP COME FROM?
According to CP3, Iger (introduced by the chyron as “Mentor and Close Friend”) understands how much basketball means to him. Which, yeah, so do we:
I dove deep (i.e., I typed “Bob Iger” and “Chris Paul” into the Google search bar) and found that the two have indeed been friends for years. In 2016, Iger’s “grueling 4:25 a.m. workouts” inspired Paul and LeBron James to do the same. This is a year after Paul and Iger made a video together for AOL in which Iger shows the point guard a family photo they took together and calls himself “old and fat.” (I’d think otherwise if LeBron James is copying your workouts.) They also look at his Snow White figurines:
Paul Says He Wants to Be Off-Ball More
The internet questioned for months how a Paul-Harden backcourt would work. There’s only one ball, we said. But apparently Paul, infamous for his control of the ball, team, and game, wanted to defer more.
“I have the ball in my hands way too much,” he told Jay-Z. “Like, I’m so tired of dribbling, having to do so much. I would love to be able to get on the wing, shoot the ball, and stuff like that.”
Paul was not remarkably involved in taking the ball down the court in Houston’s first game on Tuesday, and finished with four points, 11 assists, and eight rebounds in 33 minutes (though his left knee, we learned later, was bruised during the game and kept him out of the Rockets’ game the next night).