Chris Paul

Dunleavy names biggest motivation for Warriors' CP3 trade

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LAS VEGAS – Mike Dunleavy Jr. at his introductory press conference as the Warriors’ new general manager told a bit of a white lie

“We plan on having him for four more years, at least,” Dunleavy said when asked about Jordan Poole trade rumors. 

Three days later, Dunleavy traded Poole to the Washington Wizards as part of a package that gave Golden State future Hall of Fame point guard Chris Paul in return. On Monday at the Las Vegas Basketball Center, Dunleavy addressed the trade for the first time as the Warriors’ summer league team concluded practice. 

First, the GM made sure to thank Poole for his four years as a Warrior, especially the contributions he made to their 2021-22 championship campaign. 

“We wouldn’t have a banner if it weren't for him, and he gave us everything he had for four years,” Dunleavy said. 

Poole in his breakout season averaged 17.0 points in the playoffs on 50.8 percent shooting overall and 39.1 percent from 3-point range.

But Dunleavy’s point of emphasis in adding Paul was clear. It’s all about winning. Anything short of that is a season that didn’t meet expectations, just as the Warriors saw unfold two months ago while Poole struggled in the playoffs. Within seconds, Dunleavy used the word four different times to describe Paul’s fit on the Warriors. 

“I think in terms of his fit, the one thing we thought about was winning,” Dunleavy said. “Chris brings that. You go down the line of things that he does well, it starts with winning and it goes to winning and after that it’s winning, and there’s a few other things.” 

Paul in his 18-year career has reached the playoffs 15 times. He has played for five different organizations, and advanced to the postseason with each one. 

He first did so in his third NBA season, and did so yet again last season. Young roster or old roster, it hasn’t mattered. Paul has played in multiple systems and has thrived in each one. Over the last decade, Paul has the fourth-most wins in the league, between the regular season and playoffs.

The 38-year-old only has one box to check in his storied career. 

A championship. 

Dunleavy says the process of acquiring Paul never was on the table until talks regarding how the Phoenix Suns were going to handle his contract option first began. The Suns instead traded Paul to the Wizards on June 18 as part of a deal that sent star shooting guard Bradley Beal to Phoenix.

Once the wheels were in motion and there was an opportunity to add Paul, Dunleavy emphasized he talked a lot about the possibility with Steve Kerr and he, and the Warriors’ core of star players were on board. 

“Tough to see Jordan go, but in this league, to get something good you got to give something up.” 

The biggest question marks in Paul’s addition, aside from his long-standing rivalry playing against the Warriors, is how he fits as a possible Sixth Man off the bench and how the team will manage his minutes. Paul has started all of his 1,363 games since entering the NBA in 2005, a record for a player who has never come off the bench. However, he missed 23 games last season and was unable to suit up in the Suns’ final four playoff games due to injury. 

Both factors had to come into consideration as Dunleavy and all other parties discussed bringing Paul on board. And both in Dunleavy’s eyes will be decided not by him, but by Kerr and director of sports medicine and performance Rick Celebrini. 

“On our end, we feel like we got a really good player that’s going to address some of the stuff that we’re looking to do in terms of experience, taking care of the ball, decision making and the ability to run pick and roll,” Dunleavy said.

“Chris does a lot of those things that we feel can enhance our team.”

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