Questions arose when the Oklahoma City Thunder took in Chris Paul and sent Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets. But after initially sending off Paul George the Los Angeles Clippers, it was obvious that the Thunder were surprisingly in rebuilding mode. And from the looks of it, the 34-year-old NBA All-Star guard wants no part of it and prefers to be with a team that can win immediately.
League sources told The Athletic that the Thunder are willing to sit down and help Paul join a team he deems fit. The agent of the fourth overall pick of the 2005 NBA Draft, Leon Rose plans to talk to Thunder general manager Sam Presti to lay down their options. One team that could be interested in the 6-foot guard is the Miami Heat, a team where he could join forces with Jimmy Butler. Apparently, this was the initial plan and the Rockets simply passed on that concern to the Thunder following the recent trade. Much of this was covered in a previous post.
While seeing Paul want to check out other teams, there is the three-year $124 million deal that stands in the way. Whether it be Miami or any other team, it will depend on what deal both sides can come up with. Adrian Wojnarowski notes how the Thunder could incentivize the deal with future NBA picks if needed.
In another previous post, it was mentioned that the Heat were looking to deal away several stars because of their hefty salaries. So far, only Hassan Whiteside has departed and there are still players like Goran Dragic, James Johnson and Dion Waiters that could be dealt off. Of the names mentioned, Waiters previous played for the Heat during the 2015-16 NBA season. A qualifying offer was given to the fourth overall pick of the 2012 NBA Draft but was eventually pulled, paving the way for him to sign with the Heat in 2016.
Hence, it all boils down to the numbers behind the contract/s of the players involved. There is no question that Paul’s pact is pretty hefty so it may take time before the Heat are able to find willing takers. Aside from that, there is the age factor tied up to CP3. He will be turning 35 next season and his previous years saw him struggling to finish a season due to injuries.