Jacari McRae | July 16th, 2019
Last Thursday, Chris Paul was traded to Oklahoma City Thunder in a deal that sent Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets. With the Thunder likely rebuilding, Paul is reportedly seeking a move to a contender. A team that has been mentioned as a top trade destination is the Miami Heat, but a possible OKC-Miami deal will be complicated, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.
Appearing on Sportscenter, Windhorst says Paul prefers a trade to Miami, but the two teams are nowhere near close to a deal.
“One thing I have been told in the talks, the fact that the Thunder hold two of the Heat’s first-round picks in the future, unprotected 2021 and protected 2023, makes this a difficult conversation,” Windhorst said. “Because the Heat want those picks back. The Thunder have expressed an interest in giving one of those picks back but they would want another pick farther off into the future.”
It’s hard to blame the Heat for seeking multiple picks in order to take on Paul’s enormous contract. The 34-year-old point guard is owed roughly $124 million over the next three seasons. The last year of Paul’s deal—a player option worth $44 million— limits Miami’s flexibility for 2021 free agency, a class that includes top Heat trade target, Bradley Beal. And Miami will need assets to pursue a trade for another star.
One thing the Thunder doesn’t lack is assets, which they have plenty of. Since June, the team has acquired eight first-round drafts picks. They’ll likely have to give up at least one of those to move Paul to Miami or elsewhere. Otherwise, Paul will likely suit up for the Thunder next season.
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