The Thunder are having difficulty finding a trade partner for Paul, and the point guard may be preparing to begin the season in Oklahoma City, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports. After the Thunder traded for Paul earlier in July, the prevailing belief was that he'd be moved to a more favorable destination. But Wojnarowski reports that OKC has been unable to put together a favorable deal. Part of the reason for that is the inability for a number of newly signed players around the league to be traded, in addition to the relative lack of cap space around the league in the wake of free agency. Given the circumstances, the 34-year-old Paul may have no choice but to play out the season in Oklahoma City, which could still be a playoff contender with Steven Adams, Danilo Gallinari, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander as intriguing complementary pieces.
The Thunder acquired Paul on Thursday along with protected 2024 and 2026 first-round picks and first-round pick swaps in 2021 and 2025 from the Rockets in exchange for Russell Westbrook, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports. Though Houston general manager Daryl Morey previously dismissed rumors earlier in the summer suggesting Paul demanded a trade amid discord with backcourt mate James Harden, the Rockets ultimately decided to ship the nine-time All-Star elsewhere in order to bring aboard Harden's former teammate in Oklahoma City. While Paul would project to see a sizable bump in usage if he sticks with the Thunder, Oklahoma City general manager Sam Presti is reportedly conferring with the point guard's agent, Leon Rose, to reroute Paul elsewhere, according to Wojnarowski. Since the 34-year-old is due $124 million over the next three seasons, the Thunder may not be able to procure a sizable return in any trade unless the team is willing to eat a decent portion of the money Paul is owed. With averages of 15.6 points, 8.2 assists, 4.6 rebounds, 2.2 three-pointers and 2.0 steals in 32.0 minutes per game in 2018-19, Paul still remains productive at this stage of his career, though injuries have limited him to fewer than 65 games in each of the past three seasons.
General manager Daryl Morey emphasized that Paul has not requested a trade from the Rockets, Zach Lowe of ESPN.com reports. "Tweet that I said that. Print it. Tweet it twice." Whether or not a trade demand has been made by Paul, reports have been circulating that Houston's team chemistry has reached a low point, especially between Paul and Harden. While Morey has refuted the trade demand, it's certainly possible Paul gets dealt before the 2019-20 season begins.
Paul has demanded a trade from the Rockets, Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports reports. Rumors have been circling all summer of the Rockets potentially dealing Paul and his lucrative contract, but it looks like Paul's relationship with superstar teammate James Harden and Houston is damaged beyond repair. Paul is certainly still capable of playing at a productive level when healthy, but the 34-year-old is still owed over $123 million over the next three years, making his contract tough to move. If his relationship with Houston really is this bad at this point, it's hard to envision the Rockets getting good value out of a trade involving Paul, especially because of how many future draft picks they have already used in other trades.
Paul ended with 27 points (11-19 FG, 3-6 3Pt, 2-2 FT), 11 rebounds, and six assists in 38 minutes during Friday's 118-113 loss to the Warriors. Paul had his best game of the playoffs but it was to no avail as the Rockets were bundled out of the playoffs in six games. The Rockets blew a golden opportunity to force a Game 7 despite the best efforts of Paul. It will certainly be viewed as another lost season for the Rockets and with Paul still owed a lot of money over the next few seasons, one has to wonder where their mindset will be heading into the 2019-20 campaign. Paul is not getting any younger and was once again impacted by a number of issues across the season. The Rockets could indeed look at trying to trade a number of players, however, Paul is unlikely to be one of those given his unfavorable contract.
Last 7 Games
|3 Year Avg||64||419||46.6||130||38.6||243||90.0||1210||18.91||2669|