Throughout his illustrious career, former All-Star point guard Chris Paul has proven to be one of the best players at his position that the league has had. However, he has had some decline in his production while his massive contract could be playing a factor in teams being hesitant to acquire him via a trade. That has all brought into question about where his contract ranks in league history as being potentially the worst.
Chris Paul’s huge contract
When Paul elected to push for a trade to the Houston Rockets, the assumption was that he would be able to work out a new long-term deal with the franchise.
Following a highly successful first campaign that saw them finish just one win shy of reaching the NBA Finals, the star guard got his wish with a max deal with the franchise inking a four-year, $159.7 million contract. Paul had played exceptionally well up to that point while showing he can work well alongside star guard James Harden.
The two made for one of the best backcourts in the league, along with making the Rockets into a possible title contender. However, things quickly fell apart after just two years as Paul was traded this past offseason to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for former league MVP Russell Westbrook.
The 34-year-old is now in the second year of his lengthy contract that has brought up questions about whether he can still play up to the level his contract demands.
Does Chris Paul have the league’s worst contract?
It’s quite apparent Paul desires to play with another team where he could have a better shot at winning a championship. However, there hasn’t been any significant interest in his services, largely due to his massive contract.
There has also been a drop in his production as his numbers, averaging 16.2 points and a career-low 6.3 assists. What also doesn’t help is that he has struggled with nagging injuries over the last couple of years as he hasn’t played more than 61 games in the previous three seasons.
Paul has three years and roughly $124 million left on his deal with him set to make north of $40 million per season in the last two seasons. The fourth year is a $44.2 million option that he likely won’t turn down because it will be hard to find that type of annual salary elsewhere. It does bring up the question of where his contract ranks among the worst in league history.
His deal isn’t a team-friendly one by any means at this stage of his career, but it’s hard to put it up against the likes of Gilbert Arenas’ six-year, $111 million extension with the Washington Wizards or Timofey Mozgov’s four-year, $64 million deal with the Los Angeles Lakers. However, it is up there in terms of being a bad deal at this point.
What lies ahead of Chris Paul
Paul has found himself in a tough situation where he looks to be pigeon-holed with the Thunder. He has helped make Oklahoma City competitive, currently sitting in the eighth spot in the Western Conference at a 12-14 record.
However, the Thunder are a team that is on the rebuild looking to find their core piece to restructure the roster to take that next step. Their play this season has been in encouraging, but they are far from a team that will compete for an NBA title, and Paul is at a point in his career where he can’t afford to wait that much longer.
He’s in his 16th year with no telling of how much longer he will be able to play at a high level. Paul is still pursuing his first NBA championship, let alone his first trip to the NBA Finals. It doesn’t seem likely at this juncture that any team will take on his massive contract, but things could change in his favor down the road.