The Houston Rockets picked up Russell Westbrook for 34-year-old All-Star Chris Paul and a few projected draft picks this week.
At first, Paul didn’t seem attracted to the Oklahoma City Thunder after they lost not only Westbrook to the Rockets, but Paul George too, who was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers to play with two-time NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard. A poached Thunder team remains for Paul, but it seems like he is going to remain there despite interest elsewhere. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, “increasing expectation exists that he will start the season with the Thunder.”
According to most NBA analysts, Paul is one of the most overpaid players in the league, and still has three years left on his deal that will carry over to the Thunder’s cap space, with him being owed $120 million. Brian Windhorst of ESPN said on Monday’s Rich Eisen Show that the Thunder were planning on making a trade, but struggled to find the right deal for Paul with such an overloaded contract. Any team that would be interested in Paul would have to match the salary he is owed according to his contract, and the options remain limited for other teams that want his current contract standards.
SPORTS FIGURES WHO DIED IN 2019 – IN MEMORIAM SLIDESHOW
The 34-year-old also may not sign another new contract once this deal is up in three years. He would be 37 before a new contract comes to him. There are plenty of players in the league who are 37 years old, most notably Vince Carter and Kyle Korver, but they aren’t paid nearly as enough as Paul is with his current contract. They also are outside All-Star contention.
According to the New York Post, Paul prefers a trade to the Miami Heat to have a co-star alongside him in Jimmy Butler, but there was a halt in talks after the Thunder wanted too many draft picks.