Reports: Thunder GM to meet with Chris Paul, help trade him to preferred destination
Chris Paul is ultra-competitive, wants to win right now, and is getting older (and his game shows it).
That does not fit with Oklahoma City’s rebuilding plan — it has stockpiled so many picks Danny Ainge feels bettered — so Thunder GM Sam Presti is expected to sit down with Paul and his agent to come up with a plan to get the future Hall of Fame point guard where he wants to be, according to multiple reports.
Source, to the @TheAthletic: Chris Paul's agent, Leon Rose, will talk to OKC GM Sam Presti in the coming days to determine what's next. If CP wants to go to Miami to join Jimmy Butler, it's clear there's a deal to be done there. The Thunder would engage and have interest.— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) July 12, 2019
Houston hoped to find third-team destination preferable to Chris Paul, but ultimately leaves it OKC to execute next step once Presti confers w/ CP3 agent Leon Rose. Miami remains possibility for Paul (3 years, $124M) -- and OKC obviously has picks to incentivize deal, if needed.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 12, 2019
One complication is the three-years, $124 million Paul is owed. Heat have the salaries to match and make this work — Goran Dragic, James Johnson, Dion Waiters — and the Thunder have the picks to send East if they want. The challenge is the Thunder are $3.7 million into the luxury tax and want to shed salary, while the Heat are hard-capped after the Jimmy Butler sign-and-trade and are up against that number, they can’t take on salary.
One way or another expect the Thunder to make a move, as ESPN’s Bobby Marks notes, and don’t even think about a buyout because OCK as an organization does not want dead money on its books (which is what a buyout would leave them).
The Carmelo Anthony trade last year is a clear indication that Oklahoma City would rather trade draft assets to move money and not have a dead cap hit sitting on the books. Either Paul is on the roster or traded- hard to believe a buyout would even be part of the discussion.— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) July 12, 2019
It will not be easy, but expect Paul to be traded again long before next season starts. And expect him to have a big game when he faces Houston.