Chris Paul likely doesn’t have much desire to play with the Thunder next season, but his options outside of Oklahoma City appear limited.
OKC reportedly acquired Paul on Thursday in a blockbuster trade that shipped Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets. The Thunder clearly are heading toward a full-fledged rebuild, so it wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense to keep Paul, who still is owed $124 million over the next three seasons. The problem is, there only might be one team interested in acquiring Paul at the moment.
“The market — it’s going to be a very short list of teams probably beginning and ending with Miami to see if there’s a deal that could possibly work with the Heat. See if they’re willing to take on that money and whether they might want a draft pick with it to take on that kind of money,” ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said Thursday on “SportsCenter. “But they were interested in Westbrook, Houston beat them out for him. Now I think there could be a conversation to be had between Oklahoma City and Miami. Otherwise, Oklahoma City would start the season with Chris Paul.”
Paul certainly wouldn’t be the worst consolation prize for the Heat after they missed out on Westbrook. Miami, in theory, could build a package centered around Goran Dragic, who will be owed $19.2 million next season after opting into the final year of his deal. The Thunder might be OK taking on an expiring contract, especially one of an above-average player who could help them get through the 2019-20 campaign.
Should Paul pair up with the recently acquired Jimmy Butler in South Beach, it would make the wide-open Eastern Conference all the more intriguing.