Oklahoma City Thunder star point guard Chris Paul has put forth another impressive campaign in his 15th year in the league. Paul has been one of the driving forces that have helped navigate the Thunder well in the mix for the playoffs. His performance at this stage of his career has brought forth questions concerning how much longer that he plans to play. Paul recently addressed that discussion as he put forth a timetable for how much longer he wants to continue his career.
Chris Paul’s 2019-20 season
In the months leading into this campaign, there were questions about how much Paul had left in the tank.
The 34-year-old was coming off another injury-plagued season, where he also experienced a decline in his production. That reasonably brought forth some potential concerns that he may not be able to lead the Thunder in the manner that was hoped.
However, Paul has proven that he can step up the table as he’s put forth a bounce-back campaign that earned him his 10th All-Star selection, which was his first 2016. He is currently averaging 17.6 points, 6.6 assists, and 5.0 rebounds on 48.9 percent shooting from the floor.
That has seen him move into seventh on the all-time steals list, along with joining Jason Kidd and John Stockton as the only players with at least 9,000 assists and 2,000 steals. Paul also put himself on the shortlist with Stockton LeBron James as the only players with to record 18,000 points, 9,000 rebounds, and 2,000 steals.
Paul’s performance on the court has shown that he still has plenty of gas left in the tank to play at an elite level. He’s still a high-impact that has showcased just that with the Thunder this season. That has put forth questions about when he plans to retire.
Chris Paul on his NBA future
The resurgence that Paul has had this year has quieted the storm a bit around his NBA future.
That has also re-energized him to have an optimistic outlook with what lies ahead of him on the court. During an interview before the 2020 All-Star Game, Paul voiced that he feels like he could play at least 20 total seasons in the league. (H/T Dan Feldman of Pro Basketball Talk)
“Especially the way that my body feels now, I definitely probably at least want to play at least 20 years,
The last couple of seasons with the Houston Rockets had seen him hampered by leg injuries that prevented him from truly being a significant impact player on the floor. That has been the case over the last several years as he’s dealt with hamstring issues.
Through the course of this season, Paul has maintained a strong bill of health, and that will be crucial to him reaching two decades in the league. That would put him in some exclusive company in terms of longevity while giving him more chances to finally secure an NBA title and add more individual accolades to his name.
Will Chris Paul finish his career with the Thunder?
The notion heading into Paul’s tenure with the Thunder is that it would be a temporary home for him. Despite that, it has been an impressive start as he has helped guide them into the playoff picture.
However, Oklahoma City is not a title-contending team, and Paul is at the stage of his career where that is priority No.1. He’s trying to maximize the time that he has left on the floor to compete for an NBA title. It’s the one thing that has eluded him throughout his time in the league.
Unless the Thunder can make a significant stride in that department or acquire another bonafide star to pair alongside Paul and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, his time with the team should be short-lived. He is currently in the second year of his four-year, $159.7 million deal, which he has already voiced he will pick up the fourth-year, $44.2 million option.
That alone could be a hurdle in any trade situation, but Paul has proven that he can still be a significant factor on the floor at this stage of his career.