The crazy 2019 NBA offseason featured several superstars leaving their respective teams to chase for an championship somewhere else. Though most big names on the free agency market have already found a new home, there are still a number of players who are expected to be moved before the 2020 February trade deadline. As of now, one of the top trade candidates is Chris Paul of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Paul may be able to fill the hole that Russell Westbrook left with the Thunder, but with the team heading into an inevitable rebuild, he’s clearly an odd fit on their roster. Though he is expected to start the 2019-20 NBA season as a member of the Thunder, multiple signs are pointing that Paul will be traded before the 2020 February trade deadline. According to Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report, one of the teams who could express interest in adding the veteran point guard to their roster is the San Antonio Spurs.
“Paul, 34, is still a very good point guard when healthy, even if he’s overpaid. He’s best suited for a team in favorable salary-cap position that wants to win now. For the Spurs and 70-year-old head coach Gregg Popovich, Paul would be a great fit. Getting Paul would mean pairing one of the smartest players in the NBA with its best head coach — and opening up a potential title window for at least a season or two. The Spurs could start Paul and Derrick White in the backcourt while allowing Dejounte Murray to play limited minutes in his return from a torn ACL.”
In the proposed trade deal by Bleacher Report, the Spurs would be sending a trade package including DeMar DeRozan and Marco Belinelli to the Thunder in exchange for Chris Paul, Nerlens Noel, and a 2020 first-round pick. The deal works on ESPN‘s NBA Trade Machine.
Aside from acquiring an All-Star caliber point guard in Chris Paul, the Spurs would also add a defensive-minded big man in Nerlens Noel. The arrival of Noel would allow Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich to move LaMarcus Aldridge to the power forward position or they could use him as his primary backup at the center position. As compensation for absorbing Paul’s massive contract, the Spurs would also be receiving a future draft pick from the Thunder.
Meanwhile, the deal would enable the Thunder to unload Chris Paul’s lucrative deal while acquiring a superstar with a shorter contract. As Swartz noted, DeMar DeRozan’s presence could give the Thunder a “fighting stance” in the Western Conference. However, if they are already determined to undergo a full-scale rebuild, the Thunder are better off flipping DeRozan and Marco Belinelli for assets that could help them speed up the rebuilding process.