The Oklahoma City Thunder traded Russell Westbrook and two draft picks to the Houston Rockets for Chris Paul last week, but Thunder have been unable to trade CP3 to another team due to salary cap issues. It looks like Paul will be playing next season in Oklahoma City.
Not many teams had available cap space to accommodate Paul’s contract. He’s due $124 million over the next three seasons. He’ll be 34 next season and on the back nine of his 14-season career.
Paul averaged 18.5 points and 9.7 assists during his inevitable Hall of Fame career. Last season, he averaged 15.6 points and 8.2 assists per game in only 58 games last. He played only 58 games in his first season with the Rockets. He averaged 18.6 points during 2017-18.
Paul missed 69 games over the last three seasons. He’s played 60 or fewer games in 7 out of the last ten seasons due to multiple injuries and maladies.
CP3 and Harden Fall Out
Initially, the Thunder and Rockets were trying to work out a multi-team trade in which the third team would have taken CP3. However, without an interested third party, the Rockets and Thunder did the trade straight up.
Once the Thunder traded Paul George to the LA Clippers, Russell Westbrook asked out of OKC. They did not have many suitors but Daryl Morey and the Rockets were willing to make a deal for RWB.
Paul and James Harden rubbed each other the wrong way. Philosophical difference happen on teams because there is only one ball. The two were not on the same page, which was evident during the playoffs, because Harden wanted to shoot more and Paul wanted to distribute the ball to other players.
The Rockets were knocked out of the postseason by the Golden State Warriors once again. They were unable to overcome a Warriors team without Kevin Durant. Word got out that Paul and Harden had a falling out, despite all parties saying otherwise.
Morey told the world that the Rockets were in rebuilding mode and everyone except Harden would be on the block, especially CP3. However, Morey did not find many takers for Paul due to his age and bloated contract.
CP3 in OKC
Oklahoma City acquired a sick haul after trading away Paul George, Russell Westbrook, and Jermani Grant. Sam Presti locked up eight first round picks for those three players. They’re looking good in the future, but how about now?
The Thunder lost their top two scorers with PG-13 and RWB. They gained an All-Star caliber point guard and one of the best defenders in the league.
The Thunder still have Steve Adams, Danilo Gallinari, Dennis Schroder and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. That’s not a bad core to start with all things considered. They’ll need more help if they want to make the playoffs one of the #7 or #8 seeds.
There’s also a good chance that OKC trades Paul midseason and decides to punt on the season and enter tank city. That would require Paul to remain healthy and get off to a hot start.
According to the Westgate SuperBook, the OKC Thunder are 1000/1 odds to win the NBA Championship. Meanwhile, the Houston Rockets are 8/1 odds to win the 2020 NBA title.