Chris Paul Rumors: Trade to Miami Heat Hung Up on Draft Picks

Ryan Phillips

Chris Paul’s tenure with the Oklahoma City Thunder is almost certain to be short-lived, and it appears a trade is close to being consummated. Unfortunately, that trade has hit a snag.

Paul’s preference is to go to the Miami Heat and play with Jimmy Butler, and the Heat are interested. The issue comes down to draft pick compensation between the two teams.

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst discussed the issues holding up the deal on Monday night’s SportsCenter:

“When you talk about him potentially going to the Miami Heat, which is his preference, one thing I’ve been told in the talks; the fact that the Thunder hold the two of the Heat’s first-round picks in the future — unprotected 2021, protected 2023 — makes this a difficult conversation because the Heat want those picks back,” Windhorst said. “The Thunder have expressed an interest in giving one of those picks back but they would want another pick farther off into the future. So I do think that these teams have a lot to talk about.”

So the Heat want their picks back in order to take the 34-year-old point guard’s contract onto their books. Paul signed a four-year, $160 million deal with the Rockets last summer, and still has three years left on the contract. He’s owed $38.5 million in 2019-20, $41.4 million in 2020-21 and holds a player option at $44.2 million for the 2021-22 season.

So yeah, that’s a lot of money and the Thunder will likely have to surrender some assets to clear him from their books.

We’ll see how this plays out, but it appears the Heat are willing to take his deal if they are compensated properly.