If you're not ready to accept the idea of the Thunder rebuilding, we have a trade idea for you that might work. Kemba Walker for Chris Paul straight up.
Let it soak in. The credit for this idea goes to Michael Felger of 98.5 the Sports Hub in Boston, who brought up this scenario Friday before the Celtics scored a Game 5 victory over the Heat in the Eastern Conference finals.
Felger's thinking is that Paul's veteran leadership will help a Boston locker room that seemed fractured after a Game 2 loss to Miami. His co-host Tony Massarotti isn't as sold sighting Paul's age (35) and history of injuries as a reason Danny Ainge should proceed with caution.
Let's dispel the myth that the Celtics or any other team getting Paul should worry about his health. Paul missed one game and had no nagging injuries that lingered through the season. Second, as far as him having an impact on a locker room that has no clear voice, Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart will have to concede that role to Paul.
Smart is a strong personality, but, considering he has always been serious about basketball, he should have no issue listening to Paul. The latter proved in Oklahoma City he can lead a team to punch above its weight.
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Will This Trade Work? According to the NBA trade machine (which we know is NEVER wrong), the money works out. Paul has two years, and 85.5-million left on his deal while Walker has three years at 108-million, provided he exercises his player option.
, you're getting a player who is five years younger, but with eight years of experience. Walker can start at point guard while Shai Gilgeous-Alexander stays at small forward, and if your new coach wants to run an offense with three ball-handlers at the end of the game, it may incentivize Sam Presti to keep Dennis Schroder and eve extend him.
Walker has been consistent throughout his career, and he understands what it means to be the face of a small market team. Doing a deal to bring in a veteran point guard without having to part with any of your draft picks means Presti can use those to get to Oklahoma City the shooting it will need to replace Danilo Galliari, who could leave via free agency.
There will be many proposed trades between now and the time Presti decides to part with Paul (if that happens), but until we see it happen, it's not crazy to think he could spend the next two seasons with the Thunder.
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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 eight seasons. He is also the co-host of the Pat Jones show on 97.1 The Sports Animal in Tulsa.