Thunder officials sat down with Chris Paul after trading for him and started working with him on possible trade destinations. There have been discussions with Miami, but the market for Paul — and his three-year, $124 million contract — is small, and a lot of teams may ask the Thunder for a pick or two to take on all that money.
OKC could just keep him, something Ken Berger reported on at Bleacher Report.
Despite the possibility that Paul will be flipped in another deal—incentivized, perhaps, with a couple of those first-round picks—the Thunder aren’t averse to keeping him and his contract on board if he’s willing to stay, two league sources told B/R. As expensive as the deal is, it’s a year shorter than Westbrook’s. And if Paul does stay, the Thunder will have been compensated handsomely for their trouble.
The key phrase there, “if he’s willing to stay.”
The Thunder are starting a rebuilding process, and at age 34 Paul is looking to compete for a ring, not be the veteran mentor on a team that loses a lot of games.
Paul likely is not willing to stay, but the Thunder want a little leverage so leaking “we may keep him” makes tactical sense. That said, finding a new home for him will not be simple, and ultimately it could take three teams to get the deal done.