While there aren’t many big-name free agents on the market, this offseason is still shaping up to be quite exciting. Not only will the draft and free agency be done in the span of a few weeks, but there are a number of stars on the trading block, and the amount of rumors swirling about suggest there could be a lot of moves.
Most notably, the Oklahoma City Thunder are expected to trade Chris Paul as they enter rebuilding mode. Considering his age and ability, and the fact that he’s never won a championship, most of the conversations about a possible Paul trade have him moving to a contender. But those aren’t the only teams interested in the veteran point guard.
The Phoenix Suns have jumped into the action, and have held talks with the Thunder about a possible deal, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and Tim Bontemps:
Talks have been ongoing and continued to gather traction but there is no deal imminent, sources said. There is currently a moratorium on trades as the NBA goes through procedures to start next season ahead of the league’s draft next week.
The Thunder have given star players like Paul George and Russell Westbrook input on trade destinations in the past and have shown an openness to work with Paul on a trade now, sources said.
This one comes out of nowhere, but it actually makes some sense for both sides. The Suns are coming off a perfect performance in the bubble, where they went 8-0 to nearly make a miraculous trip to the playoffs. In Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton, they have a strong young foundation, and a veteran star like Paul — who fits perfectly with those two — could give Phoenix the boost they need to finally get back to the postseason, somewhere they haven’t been since 2010.
Meanwhile, the Suns have the young talent and cap flexibility to make a more enticing offer to the Thunder than many contenders could given Paul’s hefty contract. Plus, considering they wouldn’t be a contender even with Paul, any potential first-round picks from the Suns would be more enticing for the Thunder.
Paul will reportedly have input on where he’s traded, however, so whether he’d want to play out his career in Phoenix is another story. As is the question of if it’s worth it for the Suns to mortgage a chunk of their future just for the possibility of making the back end of the playoffs in the loaded Western Conference over the next few years.
A deal is not imminent at this time, but this is definitely a story to keep an eye on over the next few weeks. At this point, you would have to consider this a bit of a long-shot if we’re working under the assumption that Paul wants to win a title before his career is over, but it would absolutely be fun to watch him play alongside Booker and Ayton.