NBA trade rumors: Chris Paul, Thunder don't believe star guard will leave OKC this season

Sporting News

Chris Paul and the Thunder seem to believe they are stuck with each other — for now.

When Oklahoma City acquired Paul in an offseason trade with the Rockets, the front office reportedly hoped to move him quickly in a separate deal with the Heat emerging as the top suitor. However, no logical trade destinations emerged prior to the start of the 2019-20 season, and Paul is still a member of the Thunder.

That should remain the case in the short-term, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

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"There is no belief in Oklahoma City, or even in the [Paul] camp, that there's going to be a trade for him," Wojnarowski said during the "Woj & Lowe Show" on Sunday. "After the season? Another year off of that giant contract? Maybe. He's played well for them — 40 million dollars-plus, so I think they're resigned that he'll be there."

Paul has been a valuable contributor for a team that is still in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race. He is averaging 16.2 points, 6.3 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game while shooting 46.6 percent from the field and 38.1 percent from 3-point range. He most recently led the Thunder to a come-from-behind victory over the Bulls with a near triple-double (30 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists).

The nine-time All-Star is undoubtedly a good player, but his contract is a massive hurdle in any deal. Paul earns $38.5 million this season and more than $41 million in 2020-21, plus a $44.2 million player option for 2021-22. That's a lot of money for a guy who will turn 35 years old in May.

OKC might have better luck moving other veterans such as Steven Adams, Danilo Gallinari and Dennis Schroder — or the Thunder could stay patient ahead of the Feb. 6 deadline.

"I'm not certain they are sellers," one Eastern Conference executive told Bleacher Report's Eric Pincus. "I think they try to make the playoffs."

It will be worth watching the Thunder over the next month considering their placement in the West standings could dictate general manager Sam Presti's level of aggression on the trade market. Just don't expect Paul to be at the center of any discussions.

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