OKC Thunder: Chris Paul trade talk heats up with Suns

Chris Paul #3 of the OKC Thunder passes the ball (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Chris Paul #3 of the OKC Thunder passes the ball (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

Trade talk heats up between the OKC Thunder and Phoenix Suns with Chris Paul taking the lead in the discussions.

With teams jockeying to get their rosters put in place for the 2020-21 season one player frequently mentioned in trade talks is OKC Thunder guard Chris Paul.

Several teams are interested in adding the savvy vet in an effort to bolster their title hopes with the Phoenix Suns appearing to be the most aggressive in pursuing a deal. Tim Bontemps and Brian Windhorst of ESPN served up the initial story on the club’s talks.

While the initial deal was considered to be Ricky Rubio and Kelly Oubre that lost steam with John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports radio 98.7 tweets.

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Chris Paul trade talks heat up between OKC Thunder and Suns

Gambadoro as per below notes the OKC Thunder isn’t interested in taking back contracts with multiple years remaining which is precisely what Rubio is tied to with two years and just under $35 million ($34.8M) remaining on his deal. Oubre might be more feasible although the tweet implied OKC wasn’t interested in either player.

The issue is Oubre is returning from a torn meniscus –  but more importantly, has only one year left on his contract so the Thunder might be wary of whether he would re-sign. Zach Lowe’s Friday podcast, however, seemingly implied the Oubre portion of a deal with Phoenix isn’t necessarily out of the question.

As an aside – if Oubre did land in OKC the Thunder would have two of the most fashionable players in the league with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Oubre.

Also noted by Gambadoro via tweet is the Suns 2020 first-round pick (10th) isn’t likely to be included in a trade package. Notably, the Suns do own all their future picks including the highly coveted 2021 and  2022 picks which are projected to be strong draft classes.

Although this initial trade package isn’t in the mix that doesn’t mean a deal with Phoenix is completely out of the question. In fact, as per Brian Windhorst, the Thunder are employing a similar scenario for Chris Paul as they did with Paul George and Russell Westbrook where they allowed the stars to have conversations with the potential team they would be traded to. Windhorst spoke to Jody Oehler of The Drive on Fox Sports 910 Phoenix adding details about the potential for this deal.

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The big takeaways from the interview were none of the parties wanted this potential deal being leaked, Paul may prefer to land in LA closer to where his family lives now, and as noted that the Thunder gave CP3 permission to conduct talks with James Jones and the Suns.

The funniest part of the interview was Windhorst noting Presti’s prowess. He joked with most teams you could just say look we’re removing millions of dollars (Windhorst said $50 but it’s $85)  off your cap sheet but it’s Presti.

Windhorst cites all the draft picks Presti got in return for PG and Russ and the implication was Suns GM James Jones is going to have to step up to meet the Thunder magician’s needs.

Otherwise, Presti can sit back and wait until an amendable deal is presented and to reiterate — the Thunder are not in a hurry.

They can wait until the trade deadline or even next offseason. It’s unlikely Presti will hold off that long, but again, he’s under no timeline pressures.

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