Among the significant moves in the offseason, it saw the Houston Rockets trade star point guard Chris Paul to the Oklahoma City Thunder in a deal that netted them former league MVP Russell Westbrook. Since the move, there has been constant chatter that Paul doesn’t desire to remain with the Thunder for the long haul. It appears he wanted to be moved to the Milwaukee Bucks for one reason.
Rockets trade Chris Paul to the Thunder
Over the first few months of the offseason, there were rumblings around the unsteady relationship that had developed between Paul and James Harden.
Shortly after these reports emerged, Houston pulled the trigger on a deal that sent the 34-year-old over to the Thunder in a one-for-one trade in exchange for Westbrook. Paul is currently in the second year of his four-year, $159.7 million contract.
The conversation had quickly shifted over to Paul’s future with the Thunder as numerous emerged that he wouldn’t be with the franchise for a short time. There was talk about his interest in joining Jimmy Butler with the Miami Heat, but he may have been on another team instead.
Chris Paul wanted to join the Bucks to play with Giannis
Through his first few months with Oklahoma City, Paul has continued to publicly voice his appreciation for the franchise and his excitement for this new opportunity.
However, it’s hard to envision that he wanted to join a team that is in rebuilding mode after trading their two All-Stars over the offseason at this stage of his career. With that in mind, Ryen Russillo recently stated on the Woj Pod that Paul wanted to be traded to the Bucks to play alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo.
“I had heard he wanted to go to Milwaukee. Of course you’d want to go play with Giannis.”
The writing was clearly on the wall in Houston for Paul, which made the desire to play with Antetokoumpo an easy choice. The Bucks are one of the top teams in the league that is lacking another proven scorer and playmaker to put them over the top in the Eastern Conference.
Paul is in the backend of his career, and playing with Antetokounmpo would provide him with another chance to compete for an NBA title. Although the deal never came to fruition, it’s evident that he has a strong desire to join a team that is a championship contender.
Chris Paul could still be moved this season
Trade chatter around Paul has significantly cooled down over the last several weeks.
But, it doesn’t mean that these talks won’t be revisited at some point down the line this season. The Heat could be back in the picture as they have a few expiring contracts in place such as Goran Dragic and Meyers Leonard to make a deal work financially.
Paul may not be the player he once was, but he has plenty left in the tank to play at a high level to be a strong secondary option in the right situation. Through the first four games of the season, he is averaging 13.3 points on 41.9% shooting from the floor and 50% from beyond the arc along with 4.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 3.0 turnovers in 28.3 minutes per contest.
These numbers are far from the level of production that has become expected from Paul, but he could prove to be a significant factor for another team. More than anything else, it’s a situation that should be monitored closely as the nine-time All-Star could be headed to another franchise before the trade deadline.