In early July, the Oklahoma City Thunder traded their longtime star Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets for Chris Paul. Following the team’s earlier trade of Paul George for a bevy of draft picks, the deal signaled that the Thunder are preparing to embark on a rebuilding project and that Paul could eventually be on the move as well.
The Thunder have not yet been able to trade Paul, and various reports from around the league have stated that the team has had trouble getting other teams to take the more than $100 million remaining on the 34-year-old guard’s contract. But one local columnist has an idea for how the Thunder can trade Paul.
According to Berry Tramel, a columnist for The Oklahoman, the Thunder should trade Paul to the Minnesota Timberwolves for young guard Andrew Wiggins. Tramel pitches the trade as an exchange of “a virtually-impossible-to-trade contract for a difficult-to-trade contract,” as was the case when the team earlier traded Westbrook for Paul.
The idea is that the Thunder would be saving themselves money by trading for Wiggins’ contract, which is burdensome but not as burdensome as Paul’s. In addition, Wiggins is a decade younger than Paul and could benefit from a change of scenery. And Minnesota could be interested in Paul as a veteran playmaker to play alongside young star big man Karl-Anthony Towns, as the Wolves this year have not been able to make a move for a new point guard.
— Okc Thunder (@updates_okc) July 24, 2019
Tramel also argues that Wiggins, who is only 24-years-old, could show improvement in a new organization that’s less dysfunctional than Minnesota, where Wiggins has played for his entire career up to this point. The Thunder, on the other hand, have more stability, the columnist argues. He compares Wiggins to 1990s NBA player Chauncey Billups, a high draft pick who looked like a bust early in his career but later grew into an impact player.
“What if Andrew Wiggins is a really good player, a potential star, who has just been mired in a bad situation?” Tramel argues. “A franchise of constant change and turmoil. A franchise without a direction. A franchise without structure.”
Yet despite rumors throughout the offseason, the Timberwolves’ front office is sounding like they’re planning to keep Wiggins.
“I know being in Minnesota is very important to him,” new Timberwolves’ front office boss Gersson Rosas said of Wiggins in a radio interview last week, per a tweet by team blogger John Meyer.