According to a recent list of trade ideas, the Phoenix Suns could further speed up their rebuilding process by acquiring Chris Paul from the Oklahoma City Thunder.
As explained by Bleacher Report on Monday, the Suns landed a “rebuild accelerator” last summer when they traded for veteran point guard Ricky Rubio, as his arrival helped the team drastically improve its winning percentage. But with Phoenix still missing this year’s playoffs despite going 8-0 in the NBA’s Orlando bubble, Paul could serve as a “different kind of fast-forward button,” one who might even turn the organization into a top-four team in the Western Conference.
As the publication focused on “simple” offers in its list, it suggested acquiring Paul for only a pair of rotation players — Rubio and starting small forward Kelly Oubre Jr. — and no future draft picks. Such a deal would allow the Suns to acquire a veteran playmaker who remains a “special” talent, considering his strong season with the Thunder in 2019-20 after a stint with the Houston Rockets where he didn’t always fit in the team’s offense. However, Paul is still on a rather expensive contract, as he is still owed more than $85 million over the next two seasons.
“Rubio showed the Suns what they could achieve with a competent point guard. Paul could change the possibilities as a top-of-the-line floor general,” Bleacher Report continued. “He could take defensive heat away from—and simultaneously raise the efficiency of—Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton and pinpoint the offensive comfort spots of Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson.”
Per Basketball-Reference, Paul averaged 17.6 points, five rebounds, 6.7 assists, and 1.6 steals in the 2019-20 campaign while leading Oklahoma City to a fifth-place finish in the Western Conference. He also shot 48.9 percent from the field — a significant increase from the previous season’s 41.9 percent clip.
According to Bleacher Report, the hypothetical move would mainly benefit the Thunder by giving them lots of salary-cap relief. Oubre will be earning $14.4 million in 2020-21 as he wraps up his current contract while Rubio has two years and $34.8 million remaining on his deal. The outlet wrote that the club could choose to trade or keep both players, though Oubre stands out as an “interesting piece” as he’s only 24 years old and a good athlete, much like some of OKC’s other wing players.
While Paul arguably has the potential to help take the Suns to the next level of play, recent rumors have suggested that Phoenix isn’t among his desired landing spots if he gets traded. As noted by The Inquisitr, the 35-year-old’s apparent preference to play in Los Angeles or New York has reportedly created some leverage as the Thunder continue to entertain trade offers for him.