The thing about NBA trade rumors is they are only fun when your team is supposedly getting someone in return that's going to make them better. When the stories have you getting rid of a fan favorite like Chris Paul, it's a much harder pill to swallow.
Just like news about COVID or the upcoming election, hearing where Paul is going to end up is going to get old. But, the silver lining in this cloud is that his value will never be higher, and the Thunder could make out like bandits when dealing Paul to his new team.
The Athletic says:
Remember, the Thunder was shopping Paul before the beginning of last season. The longer the Thunder waits to deal Paul, the less likely he'll stay healthy and performing at his current level. He's 35 years old with an injury history and $85.5 million left on his contract through 2022. The league is fully aware of the risk attached to acquiring Paul, but there's a market for him because there are teams who are chasing titles or trying to rebuild their culture.
In other words, it's a sellers' market. If you're Sam Presti, you're looking to get younger and possibly pick up more draft picks to either build or trade for players under contract.
One trade that might work comes from the Knicks and was suggested by Mike Vorkunov: Knicks get: Paul, Hamidou Diallo, Thunder get: Frank Ntilikina, Reggie Bullock, Kevin Knox, No. 27 in 2020, and the Mavericks 2021 first-round pick (lottery protected).
Knox and Ntilikina are still on rookie contracts while Bullock is on an expiring deal. The Thunder will pick 25th in this year's draft, so with the 27th pick overall added, it makes the sting of losing the 21st pick to the 76ers a little less painful.
Also, you might be able to package two late picks for a player easier than one. The Mavericks 2021 will be another late first-round selection unless Luka Doncic decides to go backpacking across Europe.
Still, it's an asset you can spin for something if needed. Let's not forget Oklahoma City doesn't have to trade Paul.
Andre Roberson and his $10,000,000 salary are off the books, and Danilo Gallinari is likely to leave, so even at $85,000,000 plus, you can afford Paul, and if he continues to stay healthy and lead, that could be worth more than anything you could get for him.
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With more than 20 years of experience hosting local and national radio shows, Erik Gee is a fixture of Oklahoma sports media. He has covered the Oklahoma City Thunder for the past six seasons. He is also the co-host of the Pat Jones show on 97.1 The Sports Animal in Tulsa.