At 34 years of age and still motivated to chase an NBA championship, Chris Paul finds himself in a tough spot after landing with the rebuilding Oklahoma City Thunder after the Houston Rockets traded him and a bag full of draft picks for Russell Westbrook.
The biggest thing that’s weighing down Paul and his current team is his hefty contract. When he joined the Rockets, he inked a four year, $159 million deal – that’s a lot of money to pay an aging and fading point guard who’s clearly past his prime. However, the Rockets took the plunge with the hopes that CP3 would be able to help bring a championship.
After the swap for Westbrook though, the Thunder are now left standing and holding the bill. To be fair, they were justly compensated as they were showered with a multiple future first-round picks and pick swaps.
He will be owed $ 38.5 million this season, $ 41.3 million in 2020-21 and $ 44.2 million in 2021-22 (player option), by then he will be 37 years old.
The Miami Heat initially expressed interest in trading for Paul, with Pat Riley having faith in his talent. However, they’ve slowed their roll in recent days, saying that they’re not in a hurry. Should he land in South Beach, Paul would undoubtedly be pairing up with Jimmy Butler who landed with the Heat via a sign-and-trade deal with the Sixers.
On the Thunder’s end of things, they’ve also expressed not minding having Paul on their roster, come the start of the season, should no deal materialize and should he want to still be with the team. That last part is the big question. Does he? Would he want to stay in a team that has a bunch of young and promising talent and a cabinet full of picks the organization hopes to use in a rebuilding plan.
It’s tough, considering how much of a fierce competitor Paul is. Surely, yearning for an NBA championship is a fire that still burns deep within. However, playing a mentorship role with a young team, would also be a nice epilogue in his NBA legacy. Whatever is next in store for Chris Paul, you can expect that he will play and play hard for his team in 2019-20.