OKC Thunder: Pros and cons to a Chris Paul trade

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Chris Paul, OKC Thunder

Chris Paul, OKC Thunder (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

Chris Paul is a possible trade piece for the OKC Thunder this offseason

There’s a strong likelihood Chris Paul gets traded by the OKC Thunder this offseason. To who and for what is to be determined, but an incredible All-Star season for the veteran guard in 2019-20 solidified his all-time high trade value on this current contract.

Given that the Thunder have to be looking toward the future, a trade just makes sense.

It’s plain to everyone. When Paul joined the Thunder one of the first conversations he had with the team was about the fact that the team very well might trade him.

Still, a case could be made for keeping CP3 and running it back. This team was fifth in the Western Conference last season and highly competitive. Clearly, he meshes well with the core of the roster.

As such, the team will need to evaluate the pros and cons of a potential trade. Here are some of the biggest.

Pro to OKC Thunder trading Chris Paul: Trade while value is all-time high

Chris Paul in Houston had very little trade value compared to the amount of money he was getting paid. He was averaging the fewest points per game in his entire career in 2019. His assists were low, too, and his 3-point accuracy in 2019 was the worst since 2013 with the LA Clippers.

In terms of VORP, a catch-all advanced analytic, Paul put up a 2.8 in 2019, the worst of his entire career.

Statistically, some of those things haven’t been ameliorated all in one season. Paul’s VORP and BPM are second-worst of his career this season. His assists per game and shooting accuracy still have been better.

The narrative around Paul has completely changed, though. Getting out from the shadow of the Rockets — one of the most criticized and analyzed systems in the league — did his stock well.

The narrative has gone from Chris Paul being a worn-down once-upon-a-time All-Star closing out his career on a contract well beyond his worth to that of an impactful on-court player with plenty of veteran experience to balance out a locker room.

Instead of being on a team that has completely whiffed on preseason expectations in Houston, he’s on an overachieving team defying expectations. Not only that, but he led the team that way.

It’s possible another year of quality play increases his value since teams don’t have to validate the idea of taking on over $80 million in salary, but I find it hard to see his trade value getting much higher than it is now. Especially with a thin free agency class and a draft class with plenty of question marks, the trade market is going to be hot.

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