Since the blockbuster deal that enabled Russell Westbrook to reunite with James Harden on the Houston Rockets, rumors have been continuously swirling around veteran point guard Chris Paul and his future with the Oklahoma City Thunder. With the Thunder set to undergo a rebuilding process in the post-Westbrook era, most people expected Paul to be moved before the February trade deadline. However, according to Tom Ziller of SB Nation, one of Paul’s top suitors on the market, the Miami Heat, are becoming less likely to trade for the aging point guard as the NBA season goes on.
The Heat undeniably need another legitimate superstar in order to have a better chance of winning the Eastern Conference and contending for the NBA championship. However, with the emergence of rookie guards like Kendrick Nunn and Tyler Herro, and with Jimmy Butler and Goran Dragic sharing responsibilities in terms of playmaking, the Heat may no longer see the need to trade for Paul. As Ziller noted, trading for Paul “would be dangerous,” as it could do more harm than good for the Heat.
“The Miami Heat are 9-3, a strong third in the East,” Ziller wrote. “They are getting good guard play from Kendrick Nunn, Tyler Herro, and Jimmy Butler. Bam Adebayo is a revelation. Goran Dragic is resurgent. The Heat are better than they have been since LeBron James departed in 2014, and disrupting that core — as would be necessary to match CP3’s enormous salary and fit Paul into the rotation — would be dangerous. It’s a needless risk for Miami, unless you think CP3 takes the Heat from a strong No. 3 seed to a Finals contender.”
There are several reasons why the Heat shouldn’t push through with their earlier plan to bring Paul to South Beach. Though having a more experienced point guard would greatly help the Heat in the postseason, Paul has already shown some significant signs of slowing down and has dealt with numerous injuries in the past. Paul may no longer be playing with a ball-dominant superstar like Harden, but his numbers still haven’t tremendously improved.
This season, the 34-year-old point guard is averaging 15.8 points, 4.1 rebounds, 5.6 assists, and two steals, while shooting 44.7 percent from the field and 41.1 percent from beyond the arc. Aside from his deteriorating numbers, Paul is also owed $124 million over three years, and as of now, the Thunder have yet to lower their asking price for the veteran point guard.
If the Heat are determined to improve their roster, they are better off targeting another superstar who would be available on the trade market before the February trade deadline. Some of the potential trade candidates this season include Blake Griffin, Danilo Gallinari, Kevin Love, DeMar DeRozan, LaMarcus Aldridge, and D’Angelo Russell.