Chris Paul thanks Houston, 'excited' to play in Oklahoma City

Was <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nba/players/3930/" data-ylk="slk:Chris Paul">Chris Paul</a> waiting to find out if he'd remain in Oklahoma City to address his trade to the Thunder? (Getty)
Was Chris Paul waiting to find out if he'd remain in Oklahoma City to address his trade to the Thunder? (Getty)

When the Houston Rockets traded Chris Paul to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Russell Westbrook, it was largely assumed that a rebuilding OKC team would look to deal Paul in short order.

But as the realities of Paul’s contract that has three years and $124 million remaining set in alongside a trade market that’s largely dormant after July’s early flurry of free agency, it appears more and more likely that Paul will at least start the upcoming season wearing a Thunder uniform.

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Paul’s farewell to Houston includes nod to OKC

Paul acknowledged as much on Wednesday in an Instagram message thanking the city of Houston and looking forward to his time in Oklahoma City.

“So thankful to the city of Houston for all your generosity and kindness toward my family and me these past few years!” Paul wrote on Instagram. ... I’m excited to be joining the @okcthunder next season and for this new opportunity to compete alongside my Thunder teammates.”

Why the wait?

Paul’s message comes almost two full weeks after the deal that saw him traded from Houston. It’s the first time he’s acknowledged the trade in public, a post that arrived 12 days after his trade counterpart Westbrook delivered a similar message.

Granted, Westbrook leaving a Thunder team whose identity is woven into his is more significant that Paul leaving the Rockets after two tumultuous seasons.

But Paul’s message arrives conspicuously late. Was he, like much of the rest of the NBA, waiting for Oklahoma City to deal him only to realize that he’ll likely end up spending time on a rebuilding Thunder team?

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