Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Chris Paul is expected to be one of the most coveted players on the trade market in the 2020 NBA offseason. Paul may be the main reason why the Thunder are currently in the playoff race, but with the team heading into an inevitable rebuild, he’s considered an odd fit on their roster. Compared to the previous offseason, Paul’s trade value has skyrocketed.
With his impressive performance this season, Paul is expected to receive plenty of interest, not just from legitimate title contenders who are in dire need of a backcourt boost, but also from young, rebuilding teams who need a leader that could guide their young core.
In the past few months, Paul has been linked to several teams, including the New York Knicks. According to Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report, aside from getting rid of his massive contract, the Thunder could also acquire a trade package that includes young players and future draft picks by trading Paul to the Knicks.
In the proposed trade deal, the Knicks would be sending Julius Randle, Dennis Smith Jr., Bobby Portis, and a 2020 first-round pick to the Thunder in exchange for Paul.
“The Thunder would lose this exchange in terms of talent, but they could still win the swap. Turning a player of Paul’s age and price point into multiple assets is no minor miracle. The assets aren’t great, but Julius Randle is a 25-year-old double-double machine, Dennis Smith Jr. is three years removed from being a top-10 pick, and even late first-round picks can fetch a difference-maker. OKC’s financial savings, though, would arguably be the highlight in this financial climate.”
The departure of Paul would indeed lower the Thunder’s level of competitiveness next season, but it would enable them to acquire three players that fit the timeline of the development of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
Randle, Smith Jr., and Portis are still young enough to be part of the Thunder’s rebuilding plan. Using the 2020 first-round pick, the Thunder could add another young and promising talent to their roster.
At this point in his career, Paul would definitely prefer to be traded to a team that has a realistic chance of contending for the NBA championship. However, with Leon Rose currently running the show in New York, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Paul commits to the Knicks.
While paying him a huge amount of money, Rose could ask Paul to help them mentor their young players, install a winning culture on their team, and change the organization’s image among the NBA’s elite.