The Houston Rockets pulled off a landscape-changing coup days before the start of free agency season, after acquiring All-Star point guard Chris Paul in a multi-player trade with the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday. The Rockets, now with another high-caliber playmaker next to MVP runner-up James Harden, could make a strong push for free agent power forward Blake Griffin next.

The Huge Trade

Adrian Wojnarowski of the Vertical at Yahoo Sports reported Wednesday morning that the Rockets agreed to send Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams, and Sam Decker to the Clippers in exchange for Paul, who agreed to opt in on the final year of his current deal to make the trade work.

Paul forced the Clippers to pull off the trade after informing the Clips top brass that he planned to sign with the Rockets in free agency.

The Rockets are winners

Fresh from signing a contract extension with the Rockets, general manager Daryl Morey came through with a huge deal that would help the team inch the gap between them and the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors. James Harden, who heavily recruited Paul to join in Houston, will shift back to his natural shooting guard position while CP3 will be calling the shots as the primarily ball handler and floor general.

Many NBA analysts believe the Rockets’ move to acquire Paul will be a big boost to the team’s championship aspirations since Harden can revert back to being a pure scorer. While the All-NBA guard put up terrific numbers last season at the point (29 points, 11 assists and 8 rebounds per game), it’s evident the additional workload took a heavy toll on his body as he ran out of gas in the six-game Western Conference semifinals series vs.

the San Antonio Spurs.

More help to come

After acquiring Paul, the Rockets are expected to make a run at free agent big man Blake Griffin. Houston has been eyeing Paul and Griffin leading up to free agency. Although the Rockets don’t currently have the cap room to sign Griffin to a max deal, Morey may resort to another salary-dump move just to clear up enough space for the All-Star power forward.

The Rockets could dump Ryan Anderson’s $20M per year deal and possibly Trevor Ariza’s expiring contract worth $7M to put them in a position to acquire another key piece to their championship puzzle.

Anderson and Ariza are both coming off solid years, but acquiring the bruising big man will give head coach Mike D’Antoni a spitting image of Amar’e Stoudemire, who was an incredible pick-and-roll threat during his Phoenix Suns heydays.

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