After suffering another massive defeat at the hands of the Golden State Warriors in the 2019 NBA Playoffs, the Houston Rockets decided to undergo a huge roster overhaul this summer. When the Oklahoma City Thunder made Russell Westbrook officially available on the trading block, the Rockets immediately grabbed the opportunity to replace Chris Paul with a younger All-Star caliber point guard that would help them maximize James Harden’s championship window.
Paul may be highly expected to start the 2019-20 NBA season wearing the Thunder’s uniform, but multiple signs are pointing out that he will be traded before the February 2020 deadline. In the past months, Paul has been the subject of various trade rumors linking him to several NBA teams who have aspirations to win the 2020 NBA championship. One of the NBA teams who has expressed strong interest in acquiring Paul is the Miami Heat. Unfortunately, as of now, the Heat and the Thunder are unable to make a deal as a Twitter post by Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald suggested that both NBA teams view the potential Paul trade differently.
“Big difference in how OKC & Heat view Paul trade, and why Heat isn’t expecting it to materialize, at this point. OKC thinks it’s giving Heat great asset & shouldn’t need to entice Miami. Miami greatly respects Paul but feels like it’s doing OKC favor (taking big $) & should be compensated.”
According to Tyler Conway of Bleacher Report, the Heat are one of the few NBA teams in the league with “enough nonessential salary-matching pieces” to engage in a trade deal with the Thunder involving Chris Paul. They could use Goran Dragic and his expiring contract as the centerpiece of the deal and include some of their veterans — Kelly Olynyk, James Johnson, Justise Winslow, and Meyers Leonard — in the trade package.
However, though Chris Paul would give them a massive upgrade at the point guard position, the Heat are reluctant to send a future first-round pick to the Thunder. As Jackson noted, the Heat feel like they are helping the Thunder clear a huge chunk of their salary space, so they want compensation for absorbing Paul and the three years and $124 million left on his contract. Meanwhile, the Thunder are thinking the opposite, believing that they are the ones who are doing the Heat a favor.
According to a previous The Inquisitr article, the Heat still have a “level of interest” in acquiring Chris Paul, but before re-engaging in trade talks with the Thunder, they first want to see how the veteran point guard will perform in the 2019-20 NBA season. If Paul manages to impress and turn in an All-Star-caliber performance, the Thunder aren’t only expected to receive calls from the Heat, but also from other NBA teams who are in dire need of a backcourt boost.