The first big trade of the offseason has gone down! The Oklahoma City Thunder are cleaning house, this time dealing All-Star PG Chris Paul to the Phoenix Suns in the desert, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. There had been reports that the Suns were a potential destination for Chris Paul, who has two years left on his max contract. He’s set to make $41 million this season and has a player option worth $44 million in 2021-22.
Update: The deal was announced by the Suns.
The other parts of this deal are extensive, so bare with us. The Thunder pick up PG Ricky Rubio and SF Kelly Oubre Jr. to make some of the salary work out. OKC also sent over Abdel Nader. Ty Jerome and Jalen Lecque go to the Thunder as well as another first-round pick in 2022. The Thunder had just dealt Dennis Schroder to the Lakers for a 2020 first-round pick, the No. 28 pick on Wednesday night.
The Thunder are cleaning house mainly because they need to rebuild again. Coach Billy Donovan left to go to Chicago and lead the Bulls into a new era. President of basketball operations Sam Presti has done this type of thing before, compiling picks to gain plenty of assets for the future. While the Thunder may not be competitive this season, they’ll be set up well to land plenty of players through the draft or use those picks to swing deals for established players.
Now let’s get to the fun part. The Suns are going to be lethal! This teams Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton with Chris Paul in the West. The Suns also did a great job not giving up any additional important assets in the process. They keep Mikal Bridges. They keep Cameron Johnson. They keep Cam Payne. This is a team that will have some tenacious defenders as well as a potent offense under Monty Williams, who did a great job in the NBA bubble leading the Suns to an 8-0 finish.
On DraftKings Sportsbook, championship odds are still up and the Suns are listed as +4000 to win it all in 2020-21. The move for Chris Paul likely doesn’t put them ahead of the Lakers, Clippers and Warriors on paper. Phoenix is still a very interesting championship bet. Booker and Ayton should only be better. If CP3 works out and stays healthy and Bridges, Johnson and Payne all take another step in development, the Suns could easily be a top 4 team in the Western Conference. The Suns to win the West is at +2000.
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