Throughout the last several months, star point guard Chris Paul‘s name has remained in trade rumors. The chatter around Paul continued through the early goings of the shortened offseason with the Oklahoma City Thunder fielding offers for the future Hall of Famer. The Thunder have finally worked out a trade that moves him to another franchise.
Chris Paul surrounded by trade rumors
Since the Houston Rockets elected to move on from Chris Paul after the 2019-20 season, the trade rumors remained.
Paul’s name was prominently mentioned throughout the first half of last year before the trade deadline. The Oklahoma City Thunder elected to keep him in the fold that led to a playoff berth and near first-round upset of the Rockets.
With the offseason now in full swing, the trade rumor mill has ramped up again around the future Hall of Famer. His name has quickly become linked to the likes of the LA Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks, LA Clippers, New York Knicks, and Phoenix Suns. Reports also surfaced that he wants to play in either LA or New York.
All that chatter has ceased with the Thunder have worked out a deal that appeases them enough to move the star point guard.
The Suns acquire Chris Paul from the Thunder
Following weeks of trade talk around Chris Paul, the star point guard finally has a new home in the NBA.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Phoenix Suns have structured a trade to acquire Paul and Abdel Nader in exchange for Kelly Oubre, Ricky Rubio, Ty Jerome, Jalen Lecque, and a 2022 first-round pick.
The Suns recently expressed interest in the 35-year-old and continued to work toward a deal with the star point guard on board with the situation. Phoenix is taking on Paul’s $41.3 salary for the 2020-21 campaign by offloading Rubio’s $17 million, Oubre’s $14.3 million, and nearly $4 million between Lecque and Jerome.
The 10-time All-Star also possesses a $44.2 million player option for the 2021-22 campaign that he will likely pick up. There were other teams in the picture, such as the Bucks, Clippers, and Knicks that expressed interest.
The Suns offered the most lucrative package that moves the Thunder to 16 total first-round picks through the 2026 draft while garnering more young talent.
Suns’ outlook for the 2020-21 season
The Suns’ move to acquire Chris Paul signals that they have an all-in approach toward playoff contention in the 2020-21 campaign.
Phoenix fell short in the Orlando Bubble despite an impressive showing led by star guard Devin Booker. All that created some lingering chatter that Booker may want out, which the blockbuster trade should entirely quiet things on that front.
Through his brief NBA career, the 23-year-old hasn’t played with a talent like Paul, which should immediately elevate the Suns. Phoenix is adding a bonafide Hall of Fame player still performing at an elite level that can also step firmly into a leadership role.
Paul has previous experience playing under head coach Monty Williams, which should lessen the offensive system’s learning curve. His presence could help further the offensive progression along for third-year big man Deandre Ayton. The franchise is hoping he can become an All-Star level talent for years to come.
The Suns still have much work ahead in shaping the rest of the roster beyond their core three players in Paul, Booker, and Ayton. Beyond that, there is now an opportunity for Phoenix to make a serious playoff push in the stacked Western Conference next season.