NBA Rumors: Hornets Could Acquire Chris Paul For Batum, Graham & 2022 1st-Rounder

According to a recent report, the Charlotte Hornets could potentially make a move for Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Chris Paul, whose name has been mentioned in various trade rumors and proposed transactions in recent weeks.

On Thursday, Bleacher Report‘s Andy Bailey published a list of trade ideas for Paul, including one that would send him to the Hornets in exchange for veteran wingman Nicolas Batum, point guard Devonte’ Graham, and a 2022 first-round pick. As noted, Batum, who averaged only 3.6 points per game last season, was included in the proposed transaction for salary-matching purposes. The Frenchman is reportedly expected to opt into the final year of his contract, which will pay him $27.1 million in the 2020-21 campaign.

As further explained, Graham would be the centerpiece of the hypothetical deal, considering he enjoyed a breakout season last year with 18.2 points, 7.5 assists, and 3.5 three-point shots made per game. Bailey wrote that the incoming third-year playmaker has the potential to be a good fit alongside Shai Gilgeous-Alexander if he gets traded to the Thunder. He added, however, that Graham is also on an expiring contract, which means Oklahoma City might not lose much if he and Gilgeous-Alexander don’t develop good chemistry as a starting backcourt.

Talking about how the Hornets could benefit from the move, Bailey predicted that Paul’s presence in Charlotte could help greatly in the development of whomever they select at No. 3 in this year’s draft, especially if it turns out to be former Memphis Tigers center James Wiseman. He wrote that Paul could serve as a veteran mentor to the Hornets’ young players in general, adding that the trade could serve as a homecoming of sorts for the 10-time All-Star and an opportunity for him to possibly end his NBA career with his hometown team.

“This deal has a hint of sentimentality, too. Paul was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. As a Wake Forest Demon Deacon, he went to college there too. It’s just over an hour from Charlotte.”

Aside from the aforementioned deal involving the Hornets, the Bleacher Report writer also proposed trades that would send Paul to the Phoenix Suns, New York Knicks, and Milwaukee Bucks. The Suns, in particular, have emerged in recent days as one of the most likely landing spots for the 35-year-old if he plays elsewhere in 2020-21. Rumors have suggested that Phoenix has “had discussions” about acquiring him from the Thunder once the moratorium on offseason trades is lifted shortly before the November 18 draft.

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