Last Summer, veteran guard Chris Paul became a part of a blockbuster deal as the Houston Rockets traded him away to the Oklahoma City Thunder in a deal involving Russell Westbrook. At the time, the Thunder were the laughing stock of the NBA as they dealt Paul George and Westbrook with the idea of having Paul lead the team.
While the Rockets had a more successful season, they didn't end up being that much better than Paul's Thunder. To say Paul and the Thunder exceeded expectations in 2019-2020 would be an understatement. Despite heading towards a rebuild, the veteran guard kept Oklahoma City competitive in a tough Western Conference.
While Paul isn't pushing for the Thunder to trade him away as they approach a rebuild, teams around the NBA understand the situation and believe the veteran point guard could be on the trading block this year. Last year, the Philadelphia 76ers had reported interest in Paul -- but trade talks didn't go very far.
Will that change this time around? It's very much possible. The Sixers have a handful of draft picks available, along with a few young prospects that could interest the Thunder. Philly will need a win-now move, and a proven point guard could be the missing piece to the puzzle for a team that lacks shot creators.
Many believed Paul would get moved by last season's trade deadline, but OKC didn't pull the trigger. However, a handful of anonymous NBA agents believe they won't be as hesitant this offseason, according to The Athletic.
"Depending on where he lands. He drastically changed OKC," one NBA agent said. "I was a doubter, I gotta admit, but he led the team to a good playoff run. He showed he was still the man. Wherever he’s going to land, it’s going to make a big difference.”
In terms of on and off-court leadership, along with the ability to create his own shot and score at will, Paul is a prospect the Sixers need for next season. While both Ben Simmons and Shake Milton have shown positives at point guard over the last season, both players have their clear weaknesses as well. If the Sixers can snag Paul in a trade, he eliminates the question marks at the PG position and allows a talented roster to find the right fit for certain pieces in the starting lineup.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_