Despite being frequently mentioned in trade rumors since the 2019 NBA offseason, the 2020 February NBA trade deadline passed with veteran point guard Chris Paul still a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder. That isn’t surprising at all. Aside from the team’s inability to find an ideal trade partner, Paul is currently playing very well in the 2019-20 NBA season and has been one of the major reasons why the Thunder are in the playoff race in the deep Western Conference.
Paul and the Thunder may not be on the same level as other Western Conference powerhouse teams like the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers, but they are expected to be a huge headache when the real battle begins in the 2020 NBA Playoffs. However, though he agreed that Paul is the “fulcrum” of the Thunder’s success in the 2019-20 NBA season, Preston Ellis of Bleacher Report still sees the veteran point guard as one of the NBA players who are most likely to be traded in the 2020 NBA offseason.
Ellis believes that the best time for the Thunder to move Paul is during the opening hours of the 2020 NBA free agency via a sign-and-trade deal.
“At nearly 35 years old, Paul should move to a contender to try to reach that elusive NBA Finals appearance. Matching salaries remains the roadblock, and it’s a sizable one. Chris Paul will earn $41.4 million in 2020-21. Few teams can approach that number with matching and disposable contracts that won’t cripple OKC’s books for years to come. Sign-and-trades can help this summer, and that’s why the opening hours of free agency will be the most critical for Paul. Thunder general manager Sam Presti and Paul’s camp will have to get creative. Still, it seems likely they’ll find a way to leave the negotiating table satisfied.”
Paul may have succeeded in meshing well with the Thunder’s young core, but at his age, he’s obviously an odd fit with what they are currently building in Oklahoma City. So far, the Thunder are undeniably better off using Paul as a trade chip to acquire assets that would help them speed up the rebuilding process. Though he seems to be happy with the Thunder, Paul would definitely love to play for an NBA team that would give him a legitimate chance of winning his first NBA championship title.
With his impressive performance in the 2019-20 NBA season, it won’t be a surprise if the number of Paul’s suitors in the 2020 NBA offseason increases, together with his value on the trade market. If he finishes the season strong, Paul is expected to receive plenty of interest from NBA teams who are in dire need of additional star power and a backcourt boost.