The 2019 NBA offseason marked the end of Russell Westbrook’s stint with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Following the blockbuster deal that sent Paul George to the Los Angeles Clippers, the Thunder traded Westbrook to the Houston Rockets. Though they managed to acquire Westbrook’s replacement from the Rockets, Chris Paul isn’t expected to stay long in Oklahoma City.
With the Thunder heading into an inevitable rebuild, the 34-year-old point guard is clearly an odd fit on their roster. However, the Thunder don’t seem to be in a rush to trade Chris Paul as reports are circulating that the nine-time NBA All-Star will start the 2019-20 NBA season in Oklahoma City. In a recent episode of ESPN’s The Jump, which is currently available on YouTube, Brian Windhorst of ESPN revealed what some NBA executives think of Paul’s situation with the Thunder.
Windhorst said that the Thunder could be trying to give an impression to opposing NBA teams that they are not desperate in unloading Chris Paul and the three years and $124 million left on his contract.
“Here’s what executives expect to happen: They expect the Thunder to put out a message that we’re not looking to trade Chris Paul. We want him here. We want him as a part of our unit. We want him to work with our young guys. Because they don’t want anybody to think they’re panic-trying to trade him. And they want to hope that somebody has something happen where they need Chris Paul,” Windhorst said, as quoted by Bleacher Report.
Three ways Chris Paul can boost his trade value. https://t.co/Jq631C5tw9
— USA TODAY NBA (@usatodaynba) August 18, 2019
The Thunder could receive some benefits from keeping Chris Paul on their roster. While he’s on the team, Paul could serve as a great mentor to Thunder’s young players like Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Paul may not be receiving significant interest on the trade market right now, but if he establishes an impressive performance early in the 2019-20 NBA season and manages to remain healthy, he will likely gain plenty of suitors before the 2020 February NBA trade deadline.
Instead of sacrificing future draft picks to get rid of Chris Paul’s lucrative contract, there is a strong chance the Thunder could receive precious trade assets from NBA teams who want to add the veteran point guard to their roster. At 34, no one can deny the fact that Paul is already on the downside of his NBA career. However, Paul still has lots of gas left in his tank and could still be a reliable contributor to a team who’s aiming to contend for the NBA championship title in the 2019-20 NBA season.