After one successful season in Oklahoma City, Chris Paul will head to Phoenix.
The Thunder traded the 10x All-Star to the Suns on Monday for a rather hefty return. Phoenix will send Ricky Rubio, Kelly Oubre, Ty Jerome, Jalen Lecque, and a 2022 first-round pick to Oklahoma City for Paul and Abdel Nader, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Devin Booker and Chris Paul, together with the Suns now pic.twitter.com/kxV2rE5YLU
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 16, 2020
Sources: Suns‘ future first to the Thunder is protected 1-12 in 2022, 1-10 in 2023, 1-8 in 2024 and unprotected in 2025. https://t.co/e4AFUN3OfD
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) November 16, 2020
The fact that Paul is out the door isn’t all that surprising when we consider that the Thunder have entered full-blown rebuild mode. The organization has stockpiled first-round picks and assets over the past two seasons, and the plan to transition into an entirely new era was further emphasized this offseason with the separation of current Bulls head coach Billy Donovan.
Updated look at OKC Thunder's future draft picks
Nuggets 1st round pick
Lakers 1st-rd pick
— Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) November 16, 2020
Many believed Paul would be headed to a more “legitimate” contender this offseason, with the Bucks being a popular team to throw into the conversation for months, but Paul’s finances most likely made things a bit complicated (the guard is owed $85.2 million over the next two seasons).
Now, the Suns have paired a true veteran with young stars Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton. The franchise may not be considered a true title contender just yet, but their chances of making the playoffs in a competitive Western Conference next season just went way up.
Let’s keep the trades coming!