Following a trade from the Houston Rockets to the Oklahoma City Thunder, Chris Paul’s future has remained a hot-button topic in recent days. While Paul was part of the deal that reunited Russell Westbrook with James Harden in Houston, his days in Oklahoma City appear numbered.
As far as what’s next for Paul and how the Thunder will approach this situation, the recent talk has involved a potential trade to the Miami Heat, who were said to be pursuing Westbrook previously.
It appears that a deal to send Paul to the Heat and pair him up with recently-acquired Jimmy Butler could happen.
An NBA source recently told Heavy: “CP3 will end up with the Heat,” though a deal hasn’t been finalized. A source close to Paul told Heavy that Paul would like to join the Heat.
One potential holdup: The Thunder are thought to be interested in acquiring rookie guard Tyler Herro, a Kentucky product who’s tearing it up in the summer league. But because of league guidelines on rookie contracts, the teams would have to wait 30 days following the completion of the Paul/Westbrook trade in order to orchestrate a trade involving Herro.
Herro has impressed many in the NBA’s Summer League in Las Vegas.
If you’re keeping score at home: In his first five Summer League games, Herro has averaged 20.4 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 1.60 steals in 29.3 minutes a game.
Some have compared Herro to retired NBA player Jason Williams. Former Miami Heat forward Caron Butler is big on Herro.
“Herro has got a sweet basketball game,” Butler told the Miami Herald.
“He can score in so many ways. Going left or right, off the pick and roll, the catch and shoot. That’s what you call just an arsenal of ways to score the basketball. And he does not lack confidence whatsoever.”
The potential pairing of Chris Paul and Jimmy Butler would make basketball sense.
The Heat have been looking to get better and maintain relevancy after the retirement of Dwyane Wade.
The Heat and DeMarcus Cousins had strong mutual interests. Cousins ultimately signed with the Los Angeles Lakers via free agency.
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Previous Trade Talk Points to Chris Paul Landing With Heat
The morning after the trade between the Thunder and Rockets, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski spoke about the deal and offered some insight into the current situation. Not only did he tell ESPN’s “Get Up” that Oklahoma City is looking to move Paul quickly, but revealed that Miami is at the top of the list to get a deal done.
“The market for Chris Paul is going to be small, but Miami is at the top of that list. They’d like to try to get that deal done as soon as they can.” Wojnarowski said.
The Athletic’s Sam Amick reported a similar outlook, stating that the Thunder were open to a trade which would put Paul in a “more competitive situation.” Amick proceeded to explain that the Heat are believed to be among the possible landing spots.
Chris Paul Trade Outlook: Contract Implications
One looming question surrounding a potential trade for Paul has been which teams would be willing to take on the remainder of his contract. While the 34-year-old guard appears to still have good basketball left in him, it’s going to come at a high cost for any team that acquires him via trade.
As Spotrac shows, Paul is due north of $38.506 million this season, followed by more than $41.358 million in 2020-21. The nine-time NBA All-Star also has a player option worth over $44.211 million for 2021-22. The idea of paying more than $44 million to a player who would be 36 years old and is already on a slight decline isn’t appealing but Miami appears to like the potential Paul-Butler pairing.
If Miami does strike a deal for Paul, Goran Dragic, who has one year left on his deal with a cap hit of more than $19.217 million this season is also a consideration. But as far as what other pieces could be included, that makes for an interesting storyline, as Paul’s contract has likely had a negative impact on his trade value.
As far back as May and as recent as last month’s NBA Draft, the Houston Rockets were looking to improve through trade this offseason. James Harden & PJ Tucker were deemed untouchables.
The Los Angeles Lakers are still a darkhorse for Paul.
In NBA circles, the Lakers have been discussed as a team that Chris Paul is interested in joining.
“For us, anything short of a championship is not success,” Lakers GM Rob Pelinka said Friday.
Los Angeles brought in Anthony Davis via trade with the New Orleans Pelicans to join to LeBron James and Kyle Kuzma and the Lake Show.
LA also re-signed Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, JaVale McGee and Rajon Rondo.
CP3 could help that Lakers team, but so could Carmelo Anthony who is believed to have interest in a Lakers pairing.