The Phoenix Suns acquired point guard Chris Paul from the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first blockbuster move of the 2020 offseason.
Phone Suns want immediate results
Phoenix dealt Ricky Rubio, Kelly Oubre Jr., Ty Jerome, Jalen Lecque, and their 2022 first-round pick to OKC for Chris Paul and Abdel Nader. The pick is protected for selections 1-12 in 2022, 1-10 in 2023, 1-8 in 2024, and unprotected in 2025.
For Chris Paul, this will be his third team in four years. He enjoyed a resurgence this past season, making the All-Star team for the first time in four years. Paul averaged 17.6 points, 6.7 assists, and five rebounds in 31.5 minutes per game, leading the Thunder to a surprising fifth seed in the Western Conference playoffs.
The Phoenix Suns hope that he can do the same for them. Phoenix nearly made the playoffs in August for the first time since reaching the conference finals in 2010, finishing an impressive 8-0 in the Orlando bubble and missing a play-in series for the eighth and final seed by way of a tiebreaker.
Oklahoma City Thunder looks to the future
Meanwhile, the Thunder appears headed for a full-blown rebuild. They are reportedly nearing a deal that will send Dennis Schroder to the Lakers, which would leave only rising star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander from the vaunted three-guard lineup that made OKC so successful this past season. Rubio and Oubre are capable contributors, but their biggest value is the $36.4 million they will save the Thunder over the next two years.
The protected pick from the Suns gives the Thunder a whopping 17 first-rounders between now and 2026, most of which came from last year’s trades of Paul George and Russell Westbrook. Few teams will be better positioned to make blockbuster trades in the future, but another Hall of Famer is leaving town now.