In a move centered around Chris Paul and a slew of first-round picks and pick swaps over the next decade, the Thunder and Rockets have blessed us with the next big move of the 2019 offseason. Russell Westbrook if finally out of OKC! Despite Chris Paul aging relatively ungracefully and being on one of the worst contracts in the NBA at the moment, he could still be a valuable piece to many NBA teams. Unfortunately, that contract only allows three teams to make a move without completely butchering their future. Here are a couple different scenarios.
Chris Paul to the Minnesota Timberwolves
Thunder Recieve: Andrew Wiggins (Timberwolves), Jeff Teague (Timberwolves), Ian Mahinmi (Wizards)
Timberwolves Recieve: Chris Paul (Thunder)
Wizards Recieve: Gorgui Dieng (Timberwolves)
The first of the three teams is the Minnesota Timberwolves. In my opinion, Minnesota is not only the best fit for the veteran point guard but also the team that could put together the easiest package in return. Andrew Wiggins is on another one of the worst contracts in the league and still hasn’t broken out as an all-star type talent. With the extra opportunity in Oklahoma City, Wiggins still has a chance to be a legitimate NBA talent with his elite athleticism and scoring ability.
With Gorgui Dieng (also on a bad contract) joining the Thunder, they could look to move him to a good team for a worse player on a shorter contract. With an easy one-for-one swap for Ian Mahinmi, the Wizards get a solid bench big man and the Thunder receive some extra cap space in next season’s free agency.
Chris Paul to the Phoenix Suns
Thunder Recieve: Ricky Rubio, Tyler Johnson
Suns Recieve: Chris Paul
It’s no secret that the Suns have been in a desperate search for a point guard ever since drafting Devin Booker. They have continuously struck out on the top tier free agents and while Chris Paul isn’t the perfect option, he might be their only option. Realistically, the Thunder would love to get off of Paul’s massive deal, and a small price of Ricky Rubio and Tyler Johnson would be enough.
Chris Paul to the Washington Wizards
Thunder Recieve: John Wall, Ian Mahinmi
Wizards Recieve: Chris Paul, 2021 First Round Pick
Last but not least, the restart for Washington. Definitely the least likely option for the Thunder, but if the Wizards decide that they are done waiting for John Wall to be healthy or if Bradley Beal is unhappy waiting, Paul would be an extremely easy pick-up. For the Thunder, if Wall comes back even a fraction of his former self, that is undoubtedly a talent upgrade and could even be the first piece to a championship rebuild.