Chris Paul is already embracing the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Paul was shipped to the Thunder earlier this month in a trade that brought Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets.
“So thankful to the city of Houston for all your generosity and kindness toward my family and me these past few years!” Paul wrote on Instagram.
“I’m truly blessed to have amazing fans who continue to support me throughout my career.
“I’m excited to be joining (the Thunder) next season and for this new opportunity to compete alongside my Thunder teammates. I started my NBA career playing in Oklahoma City with the New Orleans Hornets and I look forward to returning!”
Paul was spotted working out with Boston Celtics swingman, Jayson Tatum while wearing Thunder gear in a photo tweeted by Oklahoma City Thunder reporter, Sneaker Reporter.
A nine-time All-Star, Paul’s future has remained a hot-button topic.
With three years remaining on his $124.1 million contract, he’s an asset on the basketball court.
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.
“Getting a player of Chris’ caliber gives us another experienced playmaker and leader, while the additional draft picks continue to allow us to further commit to the long-term vision that we are embarking on for the Thunder,” OKC’s general manager Sam Presti said in a released statement.
“We welcome Chris back to Oklahoma City where as a member of the Hornets he helped to pave the way for the Thunder’s arrival in OKC.”
While Paul was part of the deal that reunited Russell Westbrook with James Harden in Houston, his days in Oklahoma City could be numbered.
As reported recently, 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 tore up the NBA Summer League.
Many are big on Herro’s upside and have even compared Herro to retired NBA player Jason Williams.
“Herro has got a sweet basketball game,” former Miami Heat forward, Caron 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 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.