Chris Paul is making a stopover in Oklahoma City. The Rockets sent him there for Paul George, but the competitive 34-year-old point guard doesn't want to be part of a long rebuilding project. He wants to be traded again before the season starts.
His preference? Miami, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN. There, CP3 would team up with Jimmy Butler. Miami is open to the idea, but what has hung the entire thing up is the discussion of picks, Windhorst said on ESPN's SportsCenter on Monday night (hat tip NESN).
Oklahoma City is rebuilding and the mountain of picks they have compiled through trading George and Westbrook - 16 potential first rounders through 2026, including their own, enough to make Danny Ainge think they have too many picks - is at the heart of that plan. While the Thunder can afford to give one or two up, they don't want to.
Miami is saying that to take on Paul's remaining three-years, $124 million, they want a sweetener. Which is what every team would ask for.
Which brings us to another problem for the Thunder: There is not much of a market for Paul. Miami is the only name really mentioned in negotiations. There is speculation about other potential landing spots, and no doubt some feeler calls have come into Sam Presti in OKC, but the Heat seem to be the only team going down the road of serious talks.
There are other challenges to getting this trade done. For example, the Thunder would love to shed salary (they are still $3.7 million into the tax) but the Heat are hard-capped after the Jimmy Butler sign-and-trade and cannot absorb any more salary.
The Heat may be the place Paul ultimately lands but finding a deal that works could take some time to bring together.