NBA News Roundup, Tuesday, September 17th: Update on why Chris Paul was traded to the Thunder, Orlando Magic exercise Markelle Fultz's option for 2020-21 season and more
The 2019-20 NBA regular season will begin on October 22, although plenty of players could be on the move ahead of the new campaign. Free agents such as Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith remain without teams, while several talents will be cut following training camps.
Meanwhile, big names such as Kevin Love continue to be linked with teams looking to make a statement of intent ahead of the new season, and a blockbuster trade could still materialize over the next five weeks.
So, with the potential for plenty to happen, here is all the latest news and rumors you need to know for September 17th.
#1 Rockets owner denies the much-reported Chris Paul and James Harden fallout
Earlier this summer, a number of sources reported that the Houston Rockets' backcourt duo of James Harden and Chris Paul had fallen out. Paul was subsequently linked with a trade, and was eventually sent to the Oklahoma City Thunder as part of the deal for Russell Westbrook.
Nevertheless, Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta told Sam Amick of The Athletic that the rumored rift was overblown, and the franchise simply viewed Westbrook as a better fit.
I don’t think it had a lot to do (with the Harden-Paul rift). I just think that our basketball ops people thought that this was a better option for us to get to the next level, and I think Chris is going to do an unbelievable job for Oklahoma. We just feel like the way that we want to play that (Westbrook) is just a little bit better fit.
Paul joined the Rockets back in the summer of 2017 and guided the franchise to within one game of the NBA Finals in his first year. However, the 34-year-old was hit by injuries last season and is owed $124 million over the next three seasons.