Various reports have suggested that the Oklahoma City Thunder might soon be rebuilding in the aftermath of the trade that saw them acquire Chris Paul from the Houston Rockets for Russell Westbrook. Veteran players such as Danilo Gallinari and Steven Adams have frequently figured in these trade rumors, but Paul has also featured heavily in them, given the fact he is already 34-years-old and likely in the homestretch of a storied career that is now in its 15th season. Now, the latest rumors involving “CP3” suggest that the Minnesota Timberwolves might eventually emerge as the team most likely to acquire him before the February trade deadline.
According to a report published by Hoops Rumors on Tuesday, Paul’s contract, which will pay him over $85 million in the two years after the 2019-20 season, serves as a “major impediment” for the Thunder, as well as the teams that may show interest in him if he gets placed on the trading block. The publication’s Luke Adams explained that this is mainly because the 2021 free-agent class is expected to be a “star-studded” one, as Paul’s contract could be an albatross for teams hoping to spend big and make a run for a superstar player.
Talking about the widespread rumors that the Miami Heat will most likely be in the running for Paul’s services, Adams wrote that he would be surprised if the team ultimately makes a move for the nine-time All-Star. Instead, the Hoops Rumors writer suggested one of the Thunder’s Northwest Division rivals as a more likely destination for Paul.
“A team without major free agent aspirations for 2021 would be a better fit, so perhaps a club like the Timberwolves ultimately emerges as a more serious suitor.”
— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) November 19, 2019
Per his Basketball-Reference player page, Paul has been posting solid numbers for the Thunder, who are tied for 10th place in the Western Conference with a 5-9 record. With averages of 15.8 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 5.6 assists and shooting percentages of 44.7 percent from the field and 41.1 percent from three-point range, Paul isn’t as productive as he was in his prime. He could, however, fill a need for Minnesota, whose starting point guard, Jeff Teague, was also brought up by Adams as one of the Northwest Division’s most likely midseason trade candidates.
As for the Timberwolves, this isn’t the first time that the team has been mentioned as a possible landing spot for Paul. Prior to the start of the 2019-20 season, The Inquisitr wrote about a hypothetical trade scenario that would send Paul and Gallinari to Minnesota in exchange for Teague, Andrew Wiggins, and Gorgui Dieng.