‘Tis the season to be jolly; for NBA trades. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the Oklahoma City Thunder have agreed to trade away veteran point guard and floor general Chris Paul to the Phoenix Suns. The Thunder will receive Ricky Rubio, Kelly Oubre, Ty Jerome, Jalen Lecque, and a 2022-first round pick.
Oklahoma City Thunder Send Chris Paul to the Phoenix Suns
According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the pick is protected 1-12 in 2022, 1-10 in 2023, 1-8 in 2024, and unprotected in 2025. In other words, if the 2022 pick is above No. 13, the Thunder will receive it. However, if it remains in between 1-12, the Suns will retain it, moving its protection in the next few years.
Paul has been traded three times since 2017. In 2017, the Los Angeles Clippers traded him to the Houston Rockets, and was later moved to the Thunder two years later. Now he joins a young Suns team to lead a backcourt with Devin Booker. After the Thunder traded Russell Westbrook and Paul George, it was a clear sign of a rebuild in Oklahoma City. They are coming off a shocking season, earning a No.5 spot in the Western Conference before losing to the Rockets in the first round.
The 35-year old is also coming off a strong season, averaging 17.6 points, 6.7 assists, and 5.0 rebounds per game. He was the Thunder’s lone All-Star. He has a chance to help a franchise who hasn’t been to the postseason in 10 years with his leadership and playmaking abilities.
However, the Thunder will also be another young team to watch. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Luguentz Dort, and now Oubre have an opportunity to compete in the upcoming season. Rubio’s passing abilities and high I.Q. could help the young team flourish on the floor. He averaged 13.0 points and 8.8 assists per game in Phoenix. The Thunder will also save money in cap space, with Paul’s remaining $41.4 million ($44.2 million play option in for 2021-22) off their books.
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