April 13, 2024
Chris Paul's first media appearance in a Warriors uniform elicited double takes and plenty of jokes, but the veteran has already put in serious work to integrate with his new team.

SAN FRANCISCO — Yep, this is going to take some getting used to.

Chris Paul has been a Golden State Warrior since July, but on Monday, the future Hall of Famer and longtime Dubs foil walked the halls of Chase Center wearing his famous No. 3 in white, blue, and yellow.

That trade was not a mirage. This is not an elaborate practical joke. This is once impossible-to-predict reality is real.

Photoshoot fresh #GSWMediaDay pic.twitter.com/l8T9I3LkME

— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) October 2, 2023

And the jokes about being a fox in the hen house won’t stop coming Paul’s way.

“It looks good,” Steph Curry said of Paul’s new Dubs duds. “I like it as opposed to the opposite for sure.”

“That’s all I hear,” Paul said Monday. “From the coaches to everybody.”

Even the Paul family is in on the ribbing.

“The first day I came here, I took a picture of my locker and the uniform and the jersey, and I put it in my family group chat,” Paul said. “They are saying, ‘Oh, damn, that’s going to take some getting used to.’ It’s definitely been a process.”

For Paul and his new teammates, training camp will start on Tuesday, but the process has already begun. If one of the greatest point guards to ever play the game is to win a title in his career, this season — his 18th — might be his last, best chance.

He’s not keen to let the opportunity slip away.

Pair that with a team hungry to prove that last season’s early playoff exit was a fluke, and you have some powerful forces in play.

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Paul has been part of countless pickup games around the country with his new teammates, picking up what his new co-workers want to do while imparting some of his wisdom of nearly two decades in the league.

“You change jobs, going into a new environment, you want to be around the guys; [it’s] the only way you get a chance to know each other,” Paul said. “It was cool. We got a chance to hoop, spend a lot of time together, and we’ve still got a lot of work to do. But I hate it for anybody who show up to Media Day and say “what up” for the first time and not know nobody. It makes it tough.”

In a league where the best players — no matter the team — can form cliques, Paul did not arrive in the Bay with ready-made friends on the Dubs’ roster.

So while there was respect for Paul as a competitor, the animosity between the Warriors and the point guard —first with the Clippers, then the Rockets, and Suns — was real for both parties.

As such, the Warriors are only starting to meet the Paul who exists outside the heat of competition.

And they seem to like him just fine. Don’t expect old battles to get in the way of the team’s new campaign. Paul even said Monday that he’s okay to come off the bench for the first time in his career — if that’s what the team needs.

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Yes, there are still double-takes and plenty of jokes about this strange arrangement, but this is a professional outfit, too. Plus, Paul’s a pretty charming guy off the court. You’d have to be to peddle insurance for as long as he has.

We got to know his dry sense of humor and sarcasm. It was on full display Monday.

Said Paul: “Believe it or not, it’s not my first time being traded on another team.”

But this is the strangest trade yet.

And while Paul’s teammates, family, and now we in the media have been given a chance to come to terms with the new, deeply peculiar reality unfolding in front of us, the fans — perhaps the toughest group — will have to wait until Saturday’s preseason opener to enjoy the same privilege.

Let’s get weird.

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