NBA Rumors: OKC Thunder Could Trade Chris Paul To Mavericks For Tim Hardaway Jr. And Courtney Lee

Chris Paul #3 of the Houston Rockets looks on during the first half of the game against the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on April 03, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.
Yong Teck Lim / Getty Images

The trade rumors involving Chris Paul may have somewhat died down as the Oklahoma City Thunder are reportedly planning to start the 2019-20 NBA season with the veteran point guard on their roster. However, with the Thunder heading into an inevitable rebuild in the post-Russell Westbrook era, Paul is clearly an odd fit in Oklahoma City. As of now, multiple signs are pointing out that the Thunder will trade Paul before the 2020 February NBA trade deadline.

In his recent article, Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report mentioned possible ways regarding how teams like the Thunder could trade the NBA’s worst contracts. To unload Paul and the three years and $124.1 million left on his contract, Swartz suggested that the Thunder could engage in a trade negotiation with the Dallas Mavericks.

“If the Mavericks start out the season in playoff contention, Paul is the type of high-upside player Mark Cuban may be willing to take a chance on. His contract also aligns with [Luka] Doncic’s rookie deal, meaning by the time Dallas would have to give the reigning Rookie of the Year a likely max extension, Paul’s contract would be off the books.”

In the proposed trade deal by Bleacher Report, the Thunder will be sending Chris Paul, a top-10 protected 2020 first-round pick, and a lottery-protected 2024 first-round pick to the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for Tim Hardaway Jr. and Courtney Lee. The deal works on ESPN‘s NBA Trade Machine. If the trade becomes a reality, it will definitely help both teams in shoring up the weaknesses on their roster.

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Pairing Paul with Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis would help the Mavericks become a more competitive team in the deep Western Conference next season. Paul may already be on the downside of his NBA career, but he remains as an incredible playmaker and reliable contributor on the offensive end of the floor. Last season, the 34-year-old point guard averaged 15.6 points, 8.2 assists, and 2.0 steals while shooting 41.9 percent from the field and 35.8 percent from beyond the arc. Those numbers are expected to improve now that Paul has finally moved away of the shadow of James Harden.

Meanwhile, for the Thunder, the deal is only about getting Chris Paul’s lucrative contract off their books. Courtney Lee will be entering the final year of his contract, while Tim Hardaway Jr. is set to become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2021. With all the trade assets they got from trading Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and Jerami Grant, the Thunder likely won’t mind sacrificing future draft picks to unload Paul to the Mavericks.