Chris Paul trade rumors: Thunder halt discussions with other teams, increasing chances veteran guard starts season in OKC

Veteran point guard Chris Paul may end up starting the 2019-20 season with the Oklahoma City Thunder, after all. According to a report from Adrian Wojnarowski, the Thunder's talks to try and move him have stalled. Via ESPN:

Oklahoma City's discussions to move nine-time All-Star guard Chris Paul to a new destination are parked, and an increasing expectation exists that he will start the season with the Thunder, league sources tell ESPN.

Oklahoma City has been working with Paul and his representatives on finding a trade, but nothing is materializing so deep into summer free agency, sources said. Both sides believe there are benefits to Paul, 34, playing out the year with the Thunder. For now, there's a belief that there could be more success exploring trade scenarios again after Dec. 15 -- or even the completion of the 2019-20 season, league sources said.

The market expands on Dec. 15, when players who signed offseason free-agent deals can become eligible to be included in trade packages.

Late last week, the Houston Rockets traded Paul and two future first-round picks to the Thunder for Russell Westbrook in a blockbuster deal. Also without Paul George, who was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers in one of the most shocking moves of the summer, the Thunder are firmly in rebuilding mode with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and more future picks than you can count. 

Because of that, it's been widely expected that they would flip Paul elsewhere for more pieces to continue reshaping their roster for the future. Such a move would be the best outcome for both parties, as the Thunder would get more assets, and Paul would, hopefully, get to play for a playoff team. At this point in his career, he wants to maximize his remaining seasons.

And even at 34 years old, there are a number of teams who would be eager to add Paul to their team. That is, if it wasn't for his exorbitant contract. Paul is set to make $38 million this season, and his contract runs through 2022, when he's set to make over $44 million. That's a staggering sum to add to your books for any player, let alone one who is nearing the end of his career and has dealt with injury problems the last few seasons. 

Because of that, it's going to be tricky for the Thunder to figure out a deal that works for them and puts Paul in a situation where he can succeed. 

NBA Writer

Jack Maloney lives and writes in Milwaukee, where, like the Bucks, he is trying to own the future. Full Bio

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