Chris Paul escaped one potentially sour situation only to get trapped in another-- at least for now. He was dealt from the Houston Rockets to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Russell Westbrook, but had the expectation of being traded again to a more desirable destination, like Miami.
The problem is that OKC hasn't been willing to offer anything truly worthwhile for the Heat to take Paul, per the latest reports. The other issue? The Thunder are actively trying to move CP3, but the Heat aren't exactly pursuing him.
OKC, to this point, has offered nothing enticing enough to seriously interest Heat in Chris Paul talks. Heat won't close door if that changes, but this is OKC trying to move Paul, not Heat actively pursuing player— Barry Jackson (@flasportsbuzz) July 13, 2019
Both teams seem to be at a stalemate, with OKC at the worse end of things for the moment. The Heat have made it clear that they don't need Paul, and though they have let OKC give it their best shot in trade negotiations, they aren't budging.
The Thunder are reluctant to give up any key aspects of their rebuilding plan, which is exactly what reports have shown that the Heat have been insisting on for a deal to be made. These potential assets include the 2021 and 2023 first-round draft picks that were acquired by OKC in their trade that gave the Clippers Paul George.
Personally, I think the only way the #Heat trade for Chris Paul is if the Thunder take back unwanted Heat contracts & give up 2 firsts.— Mr. Clutch (@ClutchNBA_) July 13, 2019
Otherwise the starting line up should be:
The Heat are reluctant to take anything less for a variety of reasons. Chris Paul's infamous injury reputation, unappealing contract, and increasing age all factor in here.
At 34 years old, the 13-year veteran and nine-time All-Star is still a capable playmaker. He averaged 15.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, 8.2 assists, and 2 steals per game last season for the Rockets, but his downfall was only being able to play 58 games for the second straight year due to injury.
Chris Paul is still elite when healthy. Let's not forget that. Contract is a different story— BSchneids (@YaaBoyyBrett) July 13, 2019
This comes on top of a hefty $124 million and three years left on Paul's contract that would put a major dent in the Heat's salary cap picture, a major risk.
The Thunder have some serious thinking to do here. They need to decide if they want to keep the veteran and eat his contract for a season or give him up with a future pick simply to be rid of him.