Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook headlined the blockbuster deal involving the Houston Rockets and the Oklahoma City Thunder last summer. Despite giving him an assurance that they wouldn’t move him, Rockets general manager Daryl Morey still sent Paul to Oklahoma City, saying that acquiring an MVP-caliber player like Westbrook was too good to pass up. A year after the controversial deal, both floor generals are once again expected to be available on the market in the 2020 offseason.
However, compared to last summer, Paul and Westbrook’s trade values have dramatically changed. Last year, CP3 was only viewed as an aging and often-injured veteran point guard who would consume a huge chunk of a team’s salary cap space. This fall, Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report believes that Paul is likely a “more desirable trade target” than Westbrook.
“Even then, Oklahoma City Thunder guard Chris Paul is likely a more desirable trade target than Westbrook. Paul, who is owed two years and $85.5 million (including a $44.2 million player option in 2021-22), ‘has played himself back into being a commodity,’ one Western Conference executive said. The Rockets have several decisions to make. Morey has both a long-term contract and a passionate basketball philosophy. Losing to James and the Lakers isn’t likely to shake his convictions. Westbrook’s future is uncertain, but Morey may need to make incremental changes in the short term given his contract.”
Statistics-wise, Paul isn’t in any way the better player than Westbrook, but if consistency and impact on the court will be the basis, CP3 definitely has the edge. After moving out of the shadow of James Harden, he managed to bring back his old self and led a young team like the Thunder to the postseason. Though it would no longer be possible for him to return to his prime, he proved this year that he could still help a legitimate title contender that is in dire need of a backcourt boost.
Aside from having a shorter contract, what makes Paul a more desirable trade target than Westbrook is his ability to move with or without the ball in his hands and efficiently knock down shots from beyond the arc. Unlike Westbrook, who was noticeably struggling to mesh with Harden in Houston, Paul wouldn’t have a hard time making himself fit on a legitimate title contender with ball-dominant superstars on the roster.
In the past months, several teams have already been rumored to be interested in acquiring CP3 in the 2020 offseason, including the Milwaukee Bucks, Utah Jazz, Miami Heat, and the Philadelphia 76ers.