Two years after his surprising departure from the Toronto Raptors, All-Star shooting guard DeMar DeRozan is once again the center of trade rumors. Though most people see the San Antonio Spurs moving him for assets that could help them speed up the rebuilding process, it still remains a huge possibility that they could engage DeRozan in another superstar-for-superstar deal. When it comes to that scenario, one of the potential partners for the Spurs could be the Oklahoma City Thunder.
In his recent article, Dan Favale of Bleacher Report suggested a deal that would send DeRozan and Marco Belinelli to the Thunder in exchange for Chris Paul. The proposed transaction works on ESPN‘s NBA Trade Machine. Favale believes that the move is a “borderline no-brainer” for the Thunder as it would help them open up a huge chunk of their salary cap space while allowing their young backcourt players to receive more playing time.
Though DeRozan is under contract until the 2020-21 season, he’s expected to decline the player option on his current contract, enabling him to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. If the Thunder don’t want to let him walk away without getting anything in return, they could try moving him to teams who are in dire need of additional star power before the February trade deadline.
The potential deal would not only be beneficial for the Thunder but also for San Antonio, especially if they still want to remain a competitive team in the current season. Paul may not be able to make the Spurs an instant title contender, but Favale thinks that his arrival in San Antonio would give them a better chance of earning a playoff spot in the deep Western Conference.
“Paul would noticeably beef up their overall defense and has the outside touch to play off San Antonio’s other ball-handlers. His offensive command would likewise be a boon for a team that has fallen to 13th in half-court efficiency. The balance of Paul’s contract is absolutely terrifying. On the flip side, though, the Spurs have proved they can manage players in their twilights better than most. Paul is an asset if they’re hell-bent on keeping their 22-year playoff streak alive.”
Though he’s already 34, Paul still has plenty of gas left in his tank and remains a very reliable contributor on the offensive end of the floor. This season, “CP3” is averaging 15.7 points, 4.2 rebounds, 5.7 assists, and 1.7 steals while shooting 45.6 percent from the field and 38.6 percent from beyond the arc. The Spurs may not give him a strong chance of winning his first NBA championship title, but Paul would most likely love the idea of playing under one of the best coaches in league history, Gregg Popovich.