Throughout his career, Oklahoma City Thunder star point guard Chris Paul has established himself as one of the greatest point guards in league history. Paul is now in the latter stages of his career in his 15th season in the NBA, which has started to bring into question retirement, although he hasn’t indicated when he could step away. With that in mind, Paul has put on the table what he hopes will happen in his final year.
Chris Paul’s illustrious career
Since entering the NBA, Paul has established himself as one of the premier players at not only his position but the entire league.
He has proven to be a game-changing factor on both ends of the floor that has seen him as an elite playmaking with his scoring and passing along with stout play defensively. Paul has earned nine All-Star game selections, four First-Team nods, three All-NBA Second Team selections, seven All-Defensive First Team nods, and a pair of All-NBA Second Team selections.
That saw him also lead the league in assists four times and in steals on six occasions. Paul is also currently seventh all-time in career assists, and eighth in career steals. All of that has put him on a trajectory to become a sure-fire first-ballot Hall of Famer one day after his retirement.
He is in the backend of his career, which has put into focus how he wants to retire.
How Chris Paul wants to go out
Paul has continued to prove to be an ageless wonder despite being in his mid-30s, but it has put forth more questions about retirement.
During a recent Q&A with Men’s Health, Paul responded to that inquiry voicing that he’s hoping to end his NBA career with a team that appreciates him while airing his admiration for playing for the Thunder.
“”Last year was Houston. When I was in L.A., I wanted to end it there. Where I want to end my career is somewhere where you’re appreciated. It sounds like a weird answer, but that’s been the coolest part even right now in Oklahoma. I started my career there. Life happened and I ended up there, and it’s been great being back and around everyone.”
The 34-year-old is currently in the second year of his four-year, $159.7 million deal that runs through the 2021-22 season. The agreement does contain a $44.2 million player option for the final year, but it’s hard to imagine that Paul will opt-out as it’s hard to believe that any team will offer anywhere near that annual salary at that age.
There is also much that can change over the next few years as he could be traded to another team during the span of his deal. The scenario is also on the table that he could ink another contract once his current one expires.
Chris Paul’s 2019-20 season outlook
Before this season, there weren’t any high expectations around the Thunder as the team was viewed as being a rebuilding project despite adding Paul to the mix in exchange for Russell Westbrook.
But Paul has been a central factor in guiding Oklahoma City into playoff contention throughout the first half of the regular season. The Thunder have moved into the seventh spot in the Western Conference standings behind a 23-17 record.
Their play has continued to improve as they have won eight out of their last 10 games. Paul has been a guiding factor as he’s averaging 16.4 points, 6.4 assists, and 5.1 rebounds while shooting 46.8% from the floor and 36.2% from 3-point range.
The Thunder have also had some promising play from second-year guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, while veteran players such as Danilo Gallinari, Dennis Schroder, and Steven Adams also being significant factors on the floor. The Thunder are the position to potentially make some noise in the Western Conference in the playoffs.
At this point, it appears that Paul could be with the Thunder through at least this season, which may see him be a pivotal factor in the postseason.