It was thought that point guard Chris Paul was going to opt out of his contract, hit the free-agent market and sign a deal with San Antonio.

Paul pulled a rope-a-dope, you could say.

He instead elected to opt in and be traded to the very team the Spurs eliminated in Game 7 of this past season’s second round of the playoffs, the Houston Rockets.

The NBA has turned into a big power play with super teams, and Houston is trying to get in on it. The Rockets sent seven players to the Clippers — including Patrick Beverley, a defensive wizard on the perimeter, as well as Sam Dekker, Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell — to acquire the 32-year-old point guard.

Houston is also rumored to be working on a trade for Paul George, and it is being whispered that Carmelo Anthony is going to be headed there, as well. If the George deal falls through, they’ll probably look to bring in Blake Griffin.

That’s quite some team either way, but it still just isn’t enough. The Warriors are that good.

I just don’t think the Rockets can match up with Golden State even with all these acquisitions, although we don’t know what that team would look like with such an influx of high-end, high-profile talent.

Until proven otherwise, though, Houston has to find a way to get by San Antonio. Even with their new acquisition of Paul, I still give the edge to the Spurs, and I’m a Rockets fan.

Since they won their two NBA titles in the ’90s, Houston has been trying feverishly to get that elusive third trophy. They’ve traded for players like Charles Barkley and Tracy McGrady and signed players such as Scottie Pippen and Yao Ming.

It hasn’t worked.

But the Rockets’ attempt to go all in and compete with the likes of the Warriors and Cavaliers is admirable, and it’s certainly appreciated from this fan. At least they’re trying, although it may haunt them regarding their long-term future.

However, I still want to see them get past San Antonio. Until otherwise proven, the Spurs are still the second-best team in the Western Conference, and I don’t care who Houston acquires this offseason.

Until it is done and the proof is in the pudding, the Rockets still can’t compete with Golden State, and they have to get past San Antonio first for that feeling to change.

Veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Previously spent time as sports editor at both the Hereford Brand and the Gatesville Messenger. Graduate of West Texas A&M University.

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