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NBA Trade Rumors: Chris Paul may be forced to stay with the Oklahoma City Thunder

ANALYST
Rumors
20 Oct 2019, 03:48 IST

Chris Paul joined the Thunder as part of the trade for Russell Westbrook
Chris Paul joined the Thunder as part of the trade for Russell Westbrook

What's the rumor?

The Oklahoma City Thunder acquired Chris Paul earlier this summer as part of the trade that sent Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets, even though the 34-year-old doesn't exactly fit on a roster that is looking to build around young talent.

Many believe general manager Sam Presti is actively searching for a trade in order to address that issue. However, Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer believes CP3 could stay with the Thunder due to a lack of interest from rival teams.

Sam Presti
Sam Presti

In case you didn't know...

Despite turning 34 earlier this year, Paul is still widely regarded as one of the NBA's top point guards. During the 2018-19 season he averaged 15.6 points, 4.6 rebounds and 8.2 assists per game. Very few individuals around the league get the best from their teammates in the way that the veteran does.

However, there are concerns over Paul's fitness as he has managed just 58 regular appearances in each of the past two campaigns. Additionally, Paul's contract is widely regarded as one of the worst in the NBA as he is set to earn $44.2 million in 2021-22 at the age of 36.

The heart of the matter

"League sources fully expect the Thunder to explore trading Chris Paul. Finding a new home for Paul will be tough. He’s 34, has an injury history, and is owed $124 million over the next three years," O'Connor said.
"Paul can help himself and the Thunder out by excelling this season. (But) it may not happen for Paul or OKC."

While it is evident that a fully fit CP3 can help a contender, teams have no guarantees over his fitness. And the remaining three years of his contract are simply too much of a gamble for much of the NBA.

Oklahoma City Thunder v Dallas Mavericks - Game Two
Oklahoma City Thunder v Dallas Mavericks - Game Two
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Ultimately a desperate team could possibly make a move for the point guard ahead of the trade deadline, but that is far from a sure thing.

What's next?

The Thunder will begin the 2019-20 NBA season with a road contest against the Utah Jazz on 23 October. Billy Donovan's team will then host the Washington Wizards two days later.

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