Veteran guard Chris Paul ‘not a coach’, excited to hoop and play for Coach Pop

Paul signed a one-year deal with the Spurs worth over $11 million

SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Spurs leveraged the NBA’s free agency period to reel in a pair of veteran guards who are expected to bring a seasoned perspective into a young locker room.

Chris Paul, widely regarded as one of the greatest point guards of all time, was clear on what his intentions are as he prepares to join his seventh NBA franchise.

“I’ve always taken [leadership] responsibility very seriously, but also understanding, I come to hoop,” said Paul. “I’m not a coach.”

When 39-year-old Paul was traded to Oklahoma City from Houston in 2019, he played alongside Shai Gilgeous-Alexander — who was just two years into the league at the time.

Despite boasting more experience than SGA, Paul said he learned a lot from the now runner-up MVP and expects a similar experience when integrating with the young core of players of San Antonio.

“That’s probably been the coolest thing about my career,” said Paul. “I’ve [gone] to some teams that are younger or whatnot, but I’m constantly learning from these guys.”

Paul is reportedly signing a one-year deal with the Spurs worth over $11 million. The short-term deal hasn’t derailed the former fourth-overall pick in the 2005 NBA Draft from his goal to win and continue chasing his first NBA ring.

“I only have one goal every time, and that’s to win every game,” added Paul. “I don’t care if it’s practice. I don’t care if it’s a shooting contest. I don’t think you should play anything if you’re just doing it for [expletive] and giggles.”

Paul’s desire to win is a shared experience amongst the organization and its fans, but Paul and fellow veteran guard Harrison Barnes also understand this iteration of the Spurs will likely be a slow build before reaching the mountaintop.

“You just can’t fast-track experience,” explained NBA champion Barnes. “There are certain things you have to go through as a group. I think you look at every team that’s in the playoffs that’s had success — look at this franchise that has had success — there is a shared experience that happens year after year after year that allows guys to build and grow. Obviously, that process was started before I got here, but I’m definitely excited to just be in that mix.”

But again, Paul and Barnes are in Alamo City, enthusiastic about the opportunity to play for legendary head coach Gregg Popovich and to be a part of the world of possibilities surrounding the reigning Rookie of the Year Victor Wembanyama — not just to serve as a mentor.

“Sometimes when you say mentor, it just makes it sound really old,” said Barnes. “But, no, I definitely look forward to just putting my arm around guys and just getting to work. I think the best way to, you know, really connect with guys is just to do your process with them.”


About the Author

Mary Rominger is KSAT 12 Sports' first full-time female sports anchor and reporter. She came to San Antonio from Mankato, Minn., where she worked as a weekend sports anchor at KEYC News Now. She has a journalism degree from Iowa State University and grew up in Southern California. Mary enjoys golfing, sports and finding new spots around town.

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