It’s January and NBA trade rumors are going crazy. We want to take a second and address one of the forgotten trades that was expected throughout the year.
NBA Trade Rumors
After the blockbuster trade that swapped Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook, the general assumption was that the Thunder would immediately trade Paul. Many months later, Paul still remains in a Thunder uniform.
While the Thunder are by no means championship contenders, they are definitely not the worst team in the NBA. They are currently sitting in the 7th spot with a 24-19 record.
Since Chris Paul alone wasn’t enough to get the Thunder to the playoffs, the common assumption around the league would be that he should be traded. But there is one problem. What team needs Chris Paul?
One of the first suitors for Chris Paul that popped up this summer after the trade was the Miami Heat. Many thought Paul could take an average Heat team and turn them into contenders in the East. Halfway through the season, the Heat have been far better than average.
They currently are in the second spot in the East. Their young core of Tyler Herro, Kendrick Nunn, and Bam Adebayo are playing much better than expected.
Meanwhile, the veteran duo of Jimmy Butler and Goran Dragic is also shining. Given these facts, it doesn’t really make sense for the Heat to acquire Paul at this time.
Many of the other suitors for Paul, such as the Bucks, Lakers, and Timberwolves, don’t really have the means or the needs for the former all-star point guard who isn’t getting any younger.
Here is another issue in the Chris Paul trade situation. What team would be willing to absorb his contract? Paul is playing his fourteenth season in the NBA, and he isn’t getting any younger.
Give Us the Numbers
He is coming off one of his worst statistical seasons of his career and is on pace to average around similar numbers this year.
The teams that would be willing to take on Paul’s contract would only do so in hopes of winning a championship. At this stage in his career, I am not sure if Paul is capable of elevating a team to the championship level.
Hypothetically, if Paul were to join the Timberwolves, do they have a shot at the ‘ship? A team composed of KAT, Andrew Wiggins, and Paul have a slim chance to make the Western Conference finals.
I do think the Bucs pairing Giannis with Paul puts them as the clear favorites, but what does Milwaukee even give up in that trade situation?
There are other problems for the Bucks too. Paying that large sum of money, especially considering the luxury tax situation, for someone who is past their prime does not give any NBA team an edge.
Given those reasons, the market for Chris Paul is not exactly booming as of right now. At first glance, the obvious option for the Thunder would be to trade Paul. But given the circumstances, the best and only option might be to keep him.
They have young players with promise in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Darius Bazely. Plus, they have acquired numerous draft picks through the next few years. Because of their young players and draft picks, the Thunder could afford to hold onto him until later in his contract without abandoning the tanking process. His veteran presence in the locker room is of great value to the younger players in the Thunder’s organization.
There are several advantages and disadvantages to keeping and trading Chris Paul. We need to see how the market for him develops over the next few weeks before the trade deadline.
In my estimation, I don’t believe that the Thunder will trade him. Expect Chris Paul to stay put for the next year or so. We will have more information on NBA trade rumors coming in the next few weeks.