When you have a team like the Thunder, who went from contenders to rebuilders in just one summer, their name is naturally going to surface in the trade market. See, after the departure of Paul George and Russ, OKC has to decide what to do with the remaining members of their contending core.
The best thing would be to send them off via trade so that the veteran players get a chance to win, and the team gets some young pieces in return. It’s a win-win.
Plug in 34-year-old Chris Paul to this equation, and the answer is clear: the Thunder have to trade him.
Fortunately for them, the Timberwolves may be willing to work something out, according to Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report.
“Even if a 34-year-old Paul isn’t quite a Point God, he’s still several tiers above Jeff Teague. While Paul landed fourth among point guards in RPM last season, Teague was buried down at 40th. Paul is a more advanced shot-creator, a more discerning decision-maker, a sharper outside shooter and a more disruptive defender. Danilo Gallinari would complete this group’s playoff-caliber scoring trio. The 6’10” scoring forward was an offensive fireball last season, landing 11th overall in offensive real plus-minus. He outpaced his career averages from every shooting level, resulting in a pristine 46.3/43.3/90.4 slash line.”
The suggested deal has the Timberwolves sending a trade package including Andrew Wiggins, Jeff Teague, Gorgui Dieng, a 2020 first-round pick, and a 2022 second-round pick to the Thunder in exchange for Chris Paul, Danilo Gallinari, and Nerlens Noel.
The Thunder benefit simply by ridding themselves of their financial commitment to Paul and earning some young talent in the process.
For the Wolves, things are a little more complicated. By swapping Wiggins and Teague for Paul and Gallinari, they would be making a “win now” move. But with over 14 years of mileage, is Chris Paul good enough to make the Timberwolves that much better?
Last season, in 32 minutes, Paul averaged 15.6 points and 8.2 assists on 41% shooting. Father Time is certainly knocking on his door at this point. Nevertheless, if CP3 has enough left in the tank to take Minnesota to the postseason, and show a thing or two to Karl-Anthony Towns, it might just be worth the investment.