Chris Paul doesn’t appear to have many options at the moment, but Ryan Hollins believes there’s a perfect fit out there for the star point guard.
Paul reportedly was shipped to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday as part of the stunning blockbuster trade which sent Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets. The 34-year-old might not be long for OKC, though, as the franchise’s reported plan is to have Paul not play a single game in a Thunder uniform, with a follow-up trade apparently on the forefront.
Paul’s market doesn’t appear to be very robust, and his list of suitors reportedly “begins and ends” with the Miami Heat. This might be true, but Hollins believes the nine-time All-Star needs to find a way to join a different Eastern Conference team: the Philadelphia 76ers.
“I’m not number punching, I’m not trying to figure too many different things out, but he has to go to Philadelphia,” Hollins said Friday on ESPN’s “First Take.” “If I’m Chris Paul, I’m on the phones, I’m working the systems with my agent. If I’m Elton Brand, I’m calling around seeing if Chris Paul can get a buyout situation because they can’t afford that contract. If he gets in that offense in Philadelphia, the one they desperately need — and no disrespect to Ben Simmons and maybe they can learn because there’s a big enough age gap, a difference there — is they need a floor general. The one thing we’ll say Chris Paul needs help with — any older aging player — is defense. You have four, five, six elite defenders that you can place around Chris Paul and now you have a nice yin and yang. The age and the youth of Ben Simmons and Chris Paul and then you look at Joel Embiid. If you dissect that Philadelphia squad, in the playoffs and down the stretch, they have problems a lot of times executing — offensively executing. There’s times when big fella’s going, ‘Man, I ain’t touched the ball in five or six possessions. Throw it down.’ Ben Simmons needs to get some easy backdoor layups. Also, Chris Paul can play off of the basketball because one thing he can do well is spot up and shoot.”
Hollins admittedly didn’t think this hypothetical through, but it’s safe to say there’s next to no chance of Paul ending up with the Sixers. Paul is owed $124 million over the next three seasons, which all but surely eliminates the possibility of a buyout. There’s also a chance Philadelphia wouldn’t want Paul even if it could afford him, as his presence potentially could stunt Simmons’ growth. And considering how Paul’s Rockets tenure played out, he might not be the best locker-room presence either.
All things considered, it sure seems like South Beach or bust for CP3.
Thumbnail photo via Erik Williams/USA TODAY Sports Images