Despite his return to All-Star-caliber play and the fact that his Oklahoma City Thunder are tied for fifth in the Western Conference with a 40-24 record, Chris Paul has been mentioned in several hypothetical trade scenarios this year. The latest such scenario, as recently detailed, would have him moving to the Cleveland Cavaliers and joining a lineup that is currently led by former All-Star big men Kevin Love and Andre Drummond.
As explained by Bleacher Report in a list of “desperation” trade ideas that could help the NBA’s 10 worst teams make the playoffs in 2020-21, the Cavaliers might have to give up several promising youngsters in order to acquire Paul, in hopes that he would still be able to put up big numbers at the age of 35. Specifically, the outlet recommended that the organization surrender four backcourt players — Collin Sexton, Darius Garland, Kevin Porter Jr., and Dante Exum — and power forward Larry Nance in order to acquire the 10-time All-Star point guard from the Thunder.
According to the publication, Paul’s theoretical presence in Cleveland could be enough to help them crack the top eight in the Eastern Conference while winning about 50 percent of their games, even if his performance declines slightly. In 15 professional seasons, the former All-NBA selection has never played for a team that has won fewer than 37 games and, over the last 10 years or so, has mostly suited up for teams that won at least 50 games in regular-season play.
Talking about how the Thunder could benefit from such a transaction, Bleacher Report noted that the deal would give them three new, young guards who will still be on their rookie-scale contracts in the 2020-21 season. The outlet added that this would also allow Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to take over as Oklahoma City’s top playmaker, with Sexton and Porter likewise stepping up as “solid off-ball options.” While Exum was described as a “flier” whose contract expires in the summer of 2021, Nance was projected as a “rotation-level” big man on a reasonable deal that runs through the 2022-23 campaign.
“The Thunder may think they can do better than this for Paul, and you could argue he becomes easier to move as the remaining years on his deal decrease,” Bleacher Report wrote. “Except…he’s only getting older and more likely to suffer decline or injury.”
Aside from the Cavaliers, there have been a few other teams that have been brought up as potential suitors for Paul. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, a recent trade idea suggested that the Milwaukee Bucks could acquire him for a package that includes veterans Eric Bledsoe, George Hill, Ersan Ilyasova, and Robin Lopez, second-year guard Donte DiVincenzo, as well as a second-round pick in the 2021 draft.