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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OKC Thunder
Chris Paul #3 of the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets (Photo by Jeffrey Bottari/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Trading Chris Paul seems likely, but how and where is the question.

The OKC Thunder do not want to make the playoffs, Chris Paul is running out of time to compete, that is a recipe for yet another trade demand being laid at the feet of Oklahoma City Thunder general manager Sam Presti this offseason.

Chris Paul is on what many believe to be an unmovable contract, though some said that about Russell Westbrook as well and Presti pulled off a haul for him.

If I had to make a bet, Paul will be traded at some point before the deadline, but for once, the Thunder own the leverage.

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Presti did not have leverage with Paul George who demanded a trade and wanted to specifically go to the Clippers, yet still, he earned a historic haul.

The Thunder general manager did not have leverage with Russell Westbrook when the franchise star also asked to be moved. Westbrook, like Paul, is sitting on a lot of money owed to him.

As the face of the franchise, Presti had to do right by Westbrook and get him to a destination he was happy with. OKC also could not have their franchise-altering player causing a fuss on their bench and refusing to play games (although Westbrook refusing to play seems highly out of character for the most competitive player in the NBA). With Paul, it will not matter one way or another.

The difference in the situation with Paul, is the Thunder do not owe anything to him. They can deal him to any team without batting an eye of his fit and just evaluate their own returns.

Without Paul George and Jerami Grant on the payroll, the Thunder can easily get under the tax making a trade of Paul not a necessity monetarily.

So while Paul’s contract is a huge net negative, OKC has leverage in almost every other area. At most, the team should part with the 2020 Denver Nuggets first-round pick netted in the Jerami Grant trade to help move Paul.

Trading the future Hall of Famer is the most likely move, the only alternative being to keep him.

Next. Buying out Chris Paul is not going to happen. dark

Now, it is time to just sit back and see what Sam Presti’s next move is. If I had to guess, Paul will not be in a Thunder jersey by the time the regular season rolls around.