The dilemma: should OKC Thunder keep Chris Paul or move him?

Chris Paul #3 of the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets (Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)
Chris Paul #3 of the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets (Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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2019 NBA Free Agency
Chris Paul, 2019 NBA Free Agency (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The case for keeping Chris Paul is incredibly interesting.

Chris Paul is an interesting case study for what the OKC Thunder should do. With CP3 on one of the most unfriendly contracts in the NBA, granted a year shorter than Russell Westbrook‘s, the Thunder are not really inclined to foot the bill for an aging star that likely will not be an impact by the time the team hits relevancy.

But, since his contract is so large, it makes it hard to trade him without attaching a lot of assets, as the Houston Rockets did to discard the disgruntled star off to Oklahoma City. As a rebuilding team, the Thunder can not afford to offload assets just to get out from under CP3.

As it sits right now, minor moves have to be made to get under the tax line, giving the Thunder leverage to not rush out and giveaway Paul for nothing, so what if they keep him?

The teams biggest asset from these offseason moves, outside of the piles of draft picks, is Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. The rising young point guard who seems to be set to take the torch and run setting the league on fire, and being the Thunder new face once they peak into prominence.

So why hinder his growth? Why not give him all the minutes possible and let him start from the moment he hits Bricktown?

Chris Paul has had his fair share of incidents, including an apparent beef at his more recent stop with James Harden, but what if he is a good mentor? That question can not be answered by me, or anyone in the media. That can only be addressed by the public confessions of his teammates and other players who have worked with him.

If Chris Paul is willing to take Shai under his wing, that would not be the worst thing.

Could the OKC Thunder contend for the playoffs with this roster? Maybe they could claw their way to the 8th seed in the vicious race in the Western Conference, but it is in the organization’s best interest to miss out on the playoffs, even by just a game or two due to the fact that their first-round pick is owed to the 76ers (via Orlando) if the team falls out of the lottery.

Even so, Chris Paul likely could not bring this team to the playoffs. He has not played 60 games in a season in two years or 70 games in a season in three years.

The case for keeping Chris Paul simply is what if he is a good mentor for SGA?

The longer Paul stays on the roster, the more leverage the Thunder have. Teams will have movable contracts on the 15th of December, and injuries or surging teams can spark an entirely new market for the 34-year-old.