Published: Thu, July 18, 2019
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Thunder increasingly expect Chris Paul to start season with team

Thunder increasingly expect Chris Paul to start season with team

The Thunder, Paul and his representatives have reportedly been working together to find a preferable destination for Paul since the Rockets traded him to OKC, along with two first-round draft picks (2024 and 2026) and two first-round pick swaps (2021 and 2025), for Russell Westbrook.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Wednesday, citing league sources, that Oklahoma City's trade talks involving Paul are parked and an increasing expectation exists that he will start the season with the Thunder.

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The Thunder have gone all out on a rebuild this offseason as they have traded Westbrook, Paul George and Jerami Grant while acquiring an assortment of draft picks. But between December 15, when newly-signed players are eligible to be traded, and the trade deadline, definitely don't be surprised if he's on the move again.

Because of that, it's been widely expected that they would flip Paul elsewhere for more pieces to continue reshaping their roster for the future. A Paul-led Thunder team would make 12 Western Conference teams with a legitimate shot to make the playoffs - apologies to the Suns, Grizzles and T'Wolves - making the West all the more challenging. The Thunder want to be competitive and believe that Paul can serve as a mentor to Gilgeous-Alexander, a second-year guard who's considered the franchise's future playmaker. That is, if it wasn't for his exorbitant contract. That's a staggering sum to add to your books for any player, let alone one who is nearing the end of his career and has dealt with injury problems the last few seasons. Matching Paul's salary in a deal is problematic for the Thunder at the moment.

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