Less than two weeks before the start of the 2019-20 NBA season, rumors still continue to circulate around All-Star point guard Chris Paul and his future with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Paul may be expected to start the season as a member of the Thunder, but most people don’t see him staying long in Oklahoma City. As of now, the Thunder remain aggressive on the trade market, finding potential trade partners who are willing to absorb Paul and the three years and $124 million left on his contract.
In his recent article, Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report created a list of trade packages and potential landing spots for Paul. One of the possible trade destinations for the point guard before the February trade deadline is the Orlando Magic. In the proposed trade deal by Bleacher Report, the Magic would be sending a trade package including Aaron Gordon, Evan Fournier, and D.J. Augustin to the Thunder in exchange for Paul, Andre Roberson, and a 2021 first-round pick. The deal works on ESPN‘s NBA Trade Machine.
As Buckley noted, the potential deal would make a lot of sense for the Magic, especially if they are serious about making a huge noise in the Eastern Conference in the 2019-20 NBA season. The trade would allow them to acquire an All-Star caliber point guard in Chris Paul and a defensive-minded wingman in Andre Roberson. It would also enable the Magic to acquire a future first-round pick as compensation for absorbing Paul’s lucrative deal.
“Assuming Orlando gets a healthy Andre Roberson, this swap would help the team win now. Perception might say otherwise, but the “decline” of Paul has been overstated, and the “rise” of Aaron Gordon hasn’t really happened. Last season, Paul created the third-most points off assists per game (21.1) and more than tripled his 152 turnovers with 473 assists. His 4.76 RPM was the NBA’s 12th-best, per ESPN. He offers a level of stardom Orlando hasn’t seen since Dwight Howard shared a home with Disney, plus he has the right mindset to lead this top-10 defense and the ball skills to perk up this 22nd-ranked attack.”
If the trade becomes a reality, it would not only be beneficial for the Magic, but also for the Thunder. Aside from successfully unloading Chris Paul’s massive contract, the Thunder would also be acquiring a young and promising talent in Aaron Gordon. At 24, Gordon perfectly fits the timeline of the Thunder’s young core of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Terrance Ferguson, and Hamidou Diallo. Evan Fournier and D.J. Augustin may just be salary cap fillers but the Thunder could use them as trade chips to acquire more future draft assets before their contracts expire.