Kim Clement / Associated Press
Chris Paul is reportedly back on the move, with the Oklahoma City Thunder finalizing a deal to send him to the Phoenix Suns, according to ESPN̵
Phoenix will also receive Abdel Nader while sending Ricky Rubio, Kelly Oubre, Ty Jerome, Jalen Lecque and 2022 first round selection for Oklahoma City, on Voynarovsky.
Stadium Shams Charania and The Athletic provided more details on the selected trading project:
Shams Harania @ShamsCharania
Sources: The future of the Sun first to thunder is protected 1-12 in 2022, 1-10 in 2023, 1-8 in 2024 and unprotected in 2025 https://t.co/e4AFUN3OfD
This is the third time Paul has traded since 2017. He has moved from the Los Angeles Clippers to the Houston Rockets through the Thunder in the last few seasons.
The Oklahoma City trade sent Russell Westbrook to Houston, ostensibly signaling a recovery after the thunderstorms also traded Paul George. There was a lot of speculation that Paul would be reversed before 2019-20 or would agree to a buyout to move to a contender, but he stayed with the team and turned it into a playoff team.
Despite low expectations for the year, Thunder won No. 5 in the Western Conference and led the Rockets to seven games before losing in the first round.
Paul was a key part of the team’s success, averaging 17.6 points, 6.7 assists and 5.0 rebounds per game. He was the team’s lone All-Star, the 10th pick in his career, and led the team with 8.9 wins, according to the Basketball Reference.
He finished ninth in the NBA in terms of shares won, which for the ninth time in the last 10 years finished in the top 15 in this category.
The selection of a second team from the All-NBA also gave him nine awards from the entire league in his career.
The 35-year-old remains a reliable player who can help at both ends of the court, leading the league on assists four times and reigning six times. He has been named the first All-Defense team seven times in his career.
Paul will get another chance to help a young team raise their expectations this season. The Suns have quality young players in Devin Booker and Deandre Eaton, but they haven’t made playoffs in 10 seasons and could use another veteran to get the most out of the list.
Thunder have an exciting future led by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Luguentz Dort and now Oubre – who have topped their careers with 18.7 points and 6.4 rebounds per game last season. Rubio should also help replace Paul after averaging 13.0 points and 8.8 assists per game for the Suns.
That could keep them fighting for a place for the playoffs, which will enter the period 2020-21.
This deal also helps clear Paul’s salary from their books. The veteran will earn $ 41.4 million next season and has a player option of $ 44.2 million for 2021-22.
Phoenix will bear these costs as it hopes to improve on last season’s result, ending a win away from the playoffs.