Searching for an experienced ball-handler is nothing new for the Philadelphia 76ers. As the 2020 NBA trade deadline approached last season, the Sixers were reportedly working the phones and inquiring about a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder to land their veteran point guard, Chris Paul, potentially.
In OKC, Paul's play was surrounded by a bunch of young talent. At first, it seemed the Thunder were destined to go nowhere post-Russell Westbrook era, but Paul made them competitive as he averaged 17 points per game and 6.7 assists while shooting 48-percent from the field and 36-percent from three.
The Sixers reportedly attempted to acquire Paul as they were championship hopefuls, but the veteran guard remained with the Thunder for the rest of the season. Then, when the Thunder officially showed signs of a rebuild, they decided it would be best for Paul to move on so he could play with a competitive squad.
Although the Sixers changed over the front office with the addition of Daryl Morey, the new regime was still interested in Paul's services, according to Sam Amick of The Athletic. As Paul and Oklahoma City's front office sought a new landing spot for the veteran guard, the Sixers were willing to bring him on board. However, Philadelphia wasn't the desired landing spot for Paul.
"Sources say Philadelphia -- with Morey having taken over the Sixers’ front office just weeks before Paul was sent to the Suns, and his former Clippers coach, Doc Rivers, part of their program too -- made a spirited push to land Paul. The Sixers even believed there was some traction on a possible deal. The interest from Paul, however, was not mutual. With Paul targeting Phoenix as the best fit professionally and personally, and Presti in a much-improved negotiating position because of the way Paul had played, the Suns had won the CP sweepstakes."
Oh, what could have been for the Sixers. While Philly is doing just fine without Chris Paul, James Harden, or Kyle Lowry, all three of which the Sixers attempted to trade for at some point this season, it's easy to imagine the kind of boost they would've gotten with a player of Chris Paul's stature.
It's unclear why Paul didn't embrace a possible trade to the Sixers, but regardless of how well the Sixers are playing at this point without him, there are likely no regrets from Paul. At this point in the season, Paul's Phoenix Suns are 42-17, which ranks second in the Western Conference.