Despite wide expectation of an eventual move, Chris Paul and the Oklahoma City Thunder are reportedly getting comfortable with the idea of opening the season together, per a Wednesday report by ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
The Thunder officially acquired Paul on Tuesday, in exchange for longtime Oklahoma City talisman Russell Westbrook. OKC also picked up two first-round picks and two swaps in the bargain, adding to a substantial stockpile as they move on following the trade of the last foundational piece to their franchise-opening run of success.
OKC has been working with Paul and his representatives on finding a trade, but nothing is materializing so deep into summer free agency, sources said. Both sides believe there are benefits to Paul, 34, playing out the year with the Thunder. https://t.co/LjHCdLPZVg— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 17, 2019
Yet as the team and player have coordinated efforts, Wojnarowski reports that they're finding little traction on potential offers around the league, with both Paul and the Thunder viewing the trade market as perhaps more open after December 15, when the restriction on trading signed players is lifted.
With Miami an oft-mentioned potential destination following a sign-and-trade acquisition of Jimmy Butler that put them square in contention mode, any deal will come down to leverage, who thinks they possess it and how ready they are to push things across the line.
Given Paul's age (34) and contract status (3 years / $125 million remaining), as well as Oklahoma's already-underway rebuild and deep pocketfuls of picks -- which notably include a pair of Miami ones: 2021, unprotected and 2023, lottery-locked -- arguments can be made both ways. And probably are, as they get pulled apart in calls and texts.
In a subsequent Twitter post, ESPN Front Office Insider Bobby Marks expounded upon what could be limiting the market for Paul.
Here is the formula for why:
*40% of players under contract cannot be traded
* There are no teams with significant cap space (ATL has the most @ $7M)
* Biggest trade exception is GSW ($17.2M) who is hard capped- next is DAL @ $11.8M