If the Oklahoma City Thunder decide to trade Chris Paul, he would prefer it be to New York or Los Angeles, according to Jonathan Macri of Knicks Film School.
Question is, would either New York or LA want Paul?
For a little background, know that the Thunder’s supposed desire to trade Paul has been rumored for more than a year. But then Paul led an inspirational charge to the playoffs — despite the fact everyone just assumed OKC would mail it in after trading away Russell Westbrook and Paul George.
Instead, Paul was as good as he’s ever been, playing the role of team leader as OKC earned the title of NBA’s Most Surprising Team.
But things have already changed since the end of the season. For starters, Billy Donovan and the team parted ways and Thunder are continuing to search for a new coach.
Unlike other vacancies, Thunder GM Sam Presti has managed to keep the search on the downlow. (In fact, no one even knows if he’d conducting one at the moment.)
Meanwhile, Paul turned 35 years old in May and has a contract that calls for him to make more than $43 million next season and more than $44 million the season after that.
Still, based on his performance last season, he still has plenty left and his presence could put a team such as the Clippers over the top and help turn the Knicks into a real playoff contender.
The problem, of course, would be either of those franchises finding salary (and other assets) to match, while making a deal worth it for the Thunder. By all accounts, the Thunder don’t intend to take on a bunch of bad contracts just to unload Paul. They would want something with which to build.
The Lakers have also been a part of the rumor mill, given Paul’s close relationship with LeBron James. But that would probably be the only reason the Lakers would pursue a Paul trade.
“The Knicks are the better fit,” wrote Gary Sheffield Jr. of OutKick. “The Lakers don’t need Chris Paul. They need something else: a shooter.”
NBA free agency is expected to tip off near the end of this month, shortly after the Nov. 18 draft. Both of those moments on the league’s calendar will tell us a lot more about where Paul lands next — or if the Thunder will decide keeping him is the best option out there.