Nov 16 update: The Thunder and Suns have come to terms on a trade. Oklahoma City will send Chris Paul to Phoenix in exchange for Ricky Rubio, Kelly Oubre, Ty Jerome, Jalen Lecque, and draft compensation, per Shams Charania. The draft picks compensation is a future Suns first round pick protected 1-12 in 2022, 1-10 in 2023, 1-8 in 2024 and unprotected in 2025, per Charania.
The Phoenix Suns have discussed trading for All-Star PG Chris Paul from the Oklahoma City Thunder, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and Tim Bontemps reported late Tuesday night. CP3’s name has popped up in trade rumors this offseason despite a successful run with the Thunder. OKC had acquired Paul in a trade for Russell Westbrook with the Houston Rockets prior to the 2019-20 season. Despite criticism, Paul helped lead the Thunder to another playoff berth, though the team would eventually lose to Houston in the first round in the NBA bubble.
As fo the Suns, well, they were the talk of the bubble in Orlando. Phoenix went into the bubble with very little chance of making the postseason. After an 8-0 run, the Suns came just short of forcing themselves into the play-in tournament against the Memphis Grizzlies or Portland Trail Blazers. Phoenix has some assets it can throw at OKC while maintaining cap flexibility despite Paul’s $41 million salary in 2020-21.
Kelly Oubre Jr. is on an expiring deal worth $14 million that can be dangled. He’s coming off a torn meniscus that required surgery, but should be 100 percent when the season starts after having plenty of time to recover. Ricky Rubio is owed around $17 million over the next two seasons. He’d be a decent stop-gap at PG before Shai Gilgeous-Alexander can take over full-time for OKC. Throw in young PG Cameron Payne and a future pick and this deal definitely can work out for both sides.
The Thunder get out from CP3’s contract with a new coach expected to be hired. They get two rotation players who can keep the team competitive. Oubre is a natural replacement for Danilo Gallinari, who becomes an unrestricted free agent on Nov. 20. Rubio replaces CP3 in the short term. Payne showed flashes last season and isn’t a bad project. Plus another first-round pick — OKC got plenty of those in the CP3-Russ trade.
The Suns turn into contenders very quickly. You could argue Monty Williams’ squad was heading in that direction anyway after the 8-0 showing in the bubble. Now the Suns would have a legit Big 3 in Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton and Paul. The West gets even more interesting if this move somehow goes down. We may not see anything concrete until next week when the League is expected to lift the transaction freeze period prior to the 2020 NBA Draft on Wednesday, Nov. 18.
Phoenix has $20 million in cap space and has incentive to create a competitive team as the city is nearing the completion of a new $230 million arena, per the report. Williams and Paul have a relationship from when the coach was with New Orleans. CP3 has a player option after the 2020-21 season worth $44 million, but Phoenix wants to keep him past this season anyway. Plus, CP3 would be nuts to decline that much money.
While this is just a report and talks can fall through, if a trade does go down, the Suns are only +7000 to win it all in 2020-21 on DraftKings Sportsbook. Phoenix is +4000 to win the Western Conference. Both lines have some value if you believe this trade ultimately gets done. It seems like a pretty good deal for both sides depending on the assets involved.