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Paul 'didn't need sales pitch' to join Popovich, Spurs

Thearon W. Henderson / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Chris Paul teaming up with the rebuilding San Antonio Spurs may have seemed like a surprising pairing to many, but not to the 12-time All-Star.

Paul told reporters at his introductory press conference that "he didn't need a sales pitch" to join the Spurs following their 22-60 campaign. In particular, he praised San Antonio head coach Gregg Popovich, the winningest coach in NBA history.

"There's so much respect there," Paul said. "Not only for his basketball IQ, but just for who he is as a person, as a competitor in all of this."

Paul, 39, is coming off his 19th season in the league. His 9.2 points, 6.8 assists, and 26.4 minutes per game with the Golden State Warriors were all the lowest of his career.

However, Paul is just two seasons removed from a three-year stretch where he finished in the top 10 in MVP voting in each campaign with both the Oklahoma City Thunder and Phoenix Suns.

The Spurs were in the market for a point guard after finishing last season 27th in turnovers per game. Paul will join forces in the backcourt with fellow floor general Tre Jones and No. 6 pick Stephon Castle.

In addition to Popovich, Paul also singled out reigning Rookie of the Year Victor Wembanyama for why he picked the Spurs.

"I played against him this season, and I tell you, there's probably no player ... that everybody in the league talks about after the game like him," Paul said.

Despite winning the top rookie award 18 years apart, Paul and Wembanyama will play a big role in trying to lift San Antonio out of the Western Conference's basement.

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