When Chris Paul was sent to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for Russell Westbrook and first-round picks, the expectation was that his time in OKC would be brief. After selling off Westbrook and Paul George (while amassing a historical haul of first-round picks over the next seven drafts), it was clear the Thunder are a rebuilding team. Paul, at 34 and still without a ring, wants to win before the miles catch up with him. It seemed likely there would be mutual interest for the franchise and Paul to go their separate ways.
Well, we were all wrong. Adrian Wojnarowski reports it’s growing more likely Paul will start the year in a Thunder jersey, and both sides believe there’s benefits to the star point guard playing out the whole year in Oklahoma.
It’s not a huge surprise that there isn’t a trade market materializing for Paul and his massive contract that will pay him upwards of $40 million when he’s 37. It’s harder to believe, however, that Paul is fine with playing out the year for a team that is definitely not going to contend, especially in a loaded Western Conference.
If there’s anything we’ve come to learn about Chris Paul, it’s that he wants to win at all costs. Everything he does, from his playstyle to his demeanor both on and off the court, is dedicated towards winning the championship ring which has painfully eluded him for all these years. Someone with that single-minded goal has no intention of playing out his last years as an effective player in Oklahoma on a squad with both eyes towards the future.
Paul will likely start the season in OKC because no one wants his contract. But the chances of him finishing the season seem quite slim. Someone will take a chance on the man dubbed the Point God before the deadline.