Chris Paul, "I'm in a Good Place"
Pull out your magic eight-ball, now ask it if Chris Paul will be back with the Thunder next season. A hundred times out of a hundred, it's going to tell you, "Cannot predict now."
If you're lucky a time or two, it might say, "Concentrate and ask again later." The magic eight-ball knows as much as Sam Presti does at the moment.
On a conference call, Presti stressed that there isn't enough information about the salary cap or luxury tax to make any roster decisions. Heck, we don't even know when the season is going to tip-off.
To his credit, Paul is playing it cool, not saying anything that can be misinterpreted so as not to upset the sterling reputation he built up this last year in Oklahoma City. During a recent appearance on ESPN's First Take, host Max Kellerman asked Paul where he was as far as wanting to say or wanting to leave Oklahoma City.
Here's Paul's response:"I don't control that."..."Sam Presti has been amazing this year, and Oklahoma was amazing."..."Obviously, we'll see what happens this Summer and whatnot."
"I think for me, I'm gonna let everything play out and see what happens, but I mean, I'm in a good place."..."I wish we would have kept advancing in the playoffs, but I don't have no plans of opting-out no time soon either."
Paul won't be giving up the last year of his contract, but that doesn't mean he's staying with the Thunder. Only a fool would leave $44,000,000 on the table, and Paul is anything but that.
Paul has two years left on his current deal that will pay him $85,000,000; all not opting-out means is that whoever he plays for will pay him a whole lot of money at the ages of 36 and 37. Presti will do everything he can to get that money off the books, but he's not going to let Paul go for nothing.
At some point, the offers for Paul will come pouring in; when that happens, expect Presti to make a deal that will not only give Paul a chance to win a championship but will also allow the Thunder to improve.
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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.