NBA trade rumors: Thunder hope to move Chris Paul quickly; Heat remain favorite

Chris Paul may not stay with the Thunder for long. 

After the Rockets sent the guard to Oklahoma City — along with two protected first-rounders in 2024 and 2026 — in exchange for Russell Westbrook, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Friday on “Get Up” that the Thunder are working with the Heat on a deal. Wojnarowski adds that Oklahoma City is trying to move Paul “as soon as they can” with the hope Paul won’t “play a game in a Thunder uniform.” 

ESPN initially reported Thursday that the Rockets had attempted to involve a third team in their trade with the Thunder in hopes of finding Paul a more suitable home. 

Wojnarowski added that the Thunder and Heat started the process late Thursday night as soon as the trade between the Rockets and Thunder was agreed to. The report adds that there are other teams that Oklahoma City will consider, though Paul’s market is considered to be small. 

The one hurdle that Oklahoma City could face in moving Paul is the fact that the interested team would have to take on Paul’s massive contract as the 34-year-old has three years and $124 million remaining on his deal.

Paul, entering his 15th season in the league, wants to be part of a team that will be playoff contenders, rather than a franchise (like the Thunder) that is rebuilding with young talent after moving Paul George to the Clippers and Jerami Grant to the Nuggets, ESPN notes. 

Paul struggled with injuries and had a down season during 2018-19, averaging 15.6 points with 8.2 assists and 4.6 rebounds through 58 starts for Houston.