Chris Paul and Thunder seem to think they are stuck together – for now.
When Oklahoma City acquired Paul in an offseason trade with the Rockets, the front office hoped to move him quickly to a separate deal with the heat that emerged as the top overseer. However, there were no sensible commercial destinations before the start of the 2019-20 season, and Paul is still a member of the Thunder.
That should remain short-term, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
EXPERTS: Rockets Have “Serious Interest” in Robert Covington
“There is no belief in the city of Oklahoma, or even in camp (Paul), that there is going to be a trade for him,” Wojnarowski said during the Woj & Lowe Show on Sunday. “After the season? Another year from that giant contract?” “He’s played well for them – $ 40 million – plus, I think they give up being there.”
Paul was a valuable contributor to a team that is still in the thick of the Western Conference playoffs. He averages 16.2 points, 6.3 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game while shooting 46.6 percent from the field and 38.1 percent from the 3-point range. He recently led the Thunder to a near-triple-double victory over the Bulls (30 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists).
The nine-year-old All-Star is undoubtedly a good player, but his contract is a huge obstacle to any deal. Paul is making $ 38.5 million this season and more than $ 41 million in 2020-21, plus a $ 44.2 million player option for 2021-22. That’s a lot of money for a guy who turns 35 in May.
OKC may be better off moving other veterans like Steven Adams, Danilo Gallinari and Dennis Schroder – or Thunder could stay patient before the February 6 deadline.
“I’m not sure they are sellers,” an Eastern Conference spokesman told Eric Pincus of the Bleacher Report. “I think they’re trying to make the playoffs.”
It will be worth watching the Thunder next month, as their West ranking could dictate the level of aggressiveness of general manager Sam Presti in the commercial market. Just don’t expect Paul to be at the center of the debate.