The Oklahoma City Thunder stunned everyone in the league by not only making the NBA Playoffs, but also taking the Houston Rockets to seven games in the first round. One of the biggest reasons behind their run was 35-year-old veteran point guard Chris Paul, who regained his All-Star form after joining the franchise. However, many NBA trade rumors have linked Paul away from Oklahoma City Thunder this offseason.
And with the Oklahoma City Thunder front office determined to rebuild for the future, it is almost a certainty that this will end up happening.
One wouldn't blame the Oklahoma City Thunder board for treading in that direction, either. While the team is fun to watch, they are some way off seriously challenging for an NBA championship at this moment in time. In Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, the Oklahoma City Thunder have a tremendous talent who they need to surround with more young prospects. As a result, their challenge is to maximize their gains from trading Chris Paul this offseason.
NBA Trade Rumors: New York Knicks can offer the Oklahoma City Thunder more than the Milwaukee Bucks will
The Milwaukee Bucks are reportedly the frontrunners in the race to acquire Chris Paul. After being sent home in five games by Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference semi-finals, the Milwaukee Bucks are in grave danger of losing reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo to free-agency next season.
They have to do everything in their power to build a better roster around the Greek Freak, and an upgrade over point guard Eric Bledsoe would be a good start.
However, while Chris Paul and the Milwaukee Bucks would be perfect for each other, the Oklahoma City Thunder will hardly get anything of relevance in this trade. 30-year-old Eric Bledsoe does not help them rebuild in any way, and the youngest player they might be able to acquire in a deal with the Milwaukee Bucks would be 24-year-old D.J. Wilson. Any additional picks, too, would be far from valuable.
The New York Knicks, on the other hand, could offer a much more enticing trade package to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Julius Randle and Bobby Portis' career statistics
Career points per game - 16.1 & 10.2
Career assists per game - 2.8 & 1.2
Career rebounds per game - 9.0 & 5.8
Career field goal % - 49.3% & 45.6%
Career 3pt % - 29.5% & 36.0%
Indulging in a trade with the New York Knicks would be more beneficial for Oklahoma City Thunder. The Knicks have plenty of talented youngsters who probably need a change of scenery to revive their stagnant careers. Frank Ntilikina, Kevin Knox, and Dennis Smith Jr. have shown flashes of brilliance every once in a while during their young NBA career. And there is enough reason to believe that at least one of them could blossom into a star.
On top of that, Julius Randle and/or Bobby Portis could be included in a potential deal, which would fix the Oklahoma City Thunder's vacancy at the power forward spot, post Danilo Gallinari's departure in free agency. Julius Randle hasn't been a great fit for the New York Knicks, but he is still scoring a very healthy 19.5 points per game on 46% shooting.
Moreover, the future draft picks that the New York Knicks include, if any, would be far more valuable than those provided by the Milwaukee Bucks.
NBA Trade Rumors: What would a deal between the New York Knicks and the OKC Thunder involving Chris Paul look like?
The New York Knicks have the cap space to afford Chris Paul's massive contract. They also have the young assets to interest Sam Presti's Oklahoma City Thunder. The Oklahoma City Thunder wouldn't mind taking a gamble on youngsters like Knox and Ntilikina, especially if there is an additional pick or two involved. If they can convince the Knicks to part with Randle too, it'll be an excellent deal for OKC.
The New York Knicks, on the other hand, could end up getting a legendary player who would make the franchise much more attractive to the big-name free agents of the class of 2021.
Published 19 Sep 2020, 04:00 IST