There was yet another seismic trade in the NBA on Thursday night, with the news that the Houston Rockets had traded Chris Paul, along with draft picks, to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Russell Westbrook. The deal, per The Inquisitr, reunites Westbrook with his former teammate James Harden, while also adding to the Thunder’s huge war chest of future first round draft picks.
However, the NBA’s seemingly nonstop series of moves involving big-name stars might not be over yet, as Paul could be on the move again.
Multiple NBA reporters said after the trade that Paul may be traded again, possibly to the Miami Heat. Miami had been engaged in trade talks with the Thunder for Westbrook before he was dealt to Houston, so it is possible they could rekindle those talks for another highly paid veteran point guard.
Sam Amick of The Athletic said on Twitter Thursday night that Paul’s agent, Leon Rose, will speak to Oklahoma City general manager, Sam Presti, about next steps soon.
“If CP wants to go to Miami to join Jimmy Butler, it’s clear there’s a deal to be done there,” Amick wrote. “The Thunder would engage and have interest.”
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, who had first broken news of the Westbrook-Paul deal, also said on Twitter that “Miami remains possibility for Paul… and OKC obviously has picks to incentivize deal, if needed.”
The Thunder currently own two of Miami’s future first round picks, as a result of their trade of Paul George to the Los Angeles Clippers.
— Heat Nation (@HeatNationCP) July 12, 2019
There was much Twitter speculation after the deal that the Thunder could buy out Chris Paul, allowing him to join his friend LeBron James with the Los Angeles Lakers. But when players are bought out, they usually have one or possibly two years left on their contracts; Paul has three years remaining, at over $100 million, as well as a player option for the fourth year, making a buyout unlikely. A trade to the Lakers is also unlikely, as the team has little cap space and few trade assets.
It is not out of the question for Paul to stay in Oklahoma City, as he already has some history there. During the first two years of his career, he played for the New Orleans Hornets, which at the time was playing in Oklahoma, due to damage to the team’s arena from Hurricane Katrina.
Amick had tweeted on Thursday, in fact, that “OKC does this deal with full anticipation that Chris Paul will be part of a good team that now has a treasure trove of future assets.”