Mark Medina: The Thunder would love to trade Chris Paul…

Mark Medina: The Thunder would love to trade Chris Paul before the trade deadline so they can hoard even more young talent and draft picks. Other teams are reluctant to acquire Paul given his age, injury history and contract, so that might not happen. So for now, the Thunder has embraced leaning on Paul to keep the team competitive and mentor Shai-Gilgeous Alexander.

More on Chris Paul Trade?

But league sources fully expect the Thunder to explore trading Chris Paul and Danilo Gallinari to continue their rebuild following the Russell Westbrook and Paul George blockbusters this summer. Trading Gallinari wouldn’t be difficult, provided he’s healthy. Finding a new home for Paul will be tough. He’s 34, has an injury history, and is owed $124 million over the next three years. That deal is terrifying. Paul can help himself and the Thunder out by excelling this season. All it takes is one team to bite.
The Heat have a level of interest in Oklahoma City’s Chris Paul entering the NBA season, league sources said. Paul had shared a strong mutual interest in ending up in Miami after his trade to the Thunder — but the sides could not agree to a deal and now OKC is prepared for Paul to enter training camp as a veteran star and leader.
Paul has three years left on his monster contract. He’ll make $38,506,482 next season, $41,358,814 in 2020-21 and has a player option worth $44,211,146 for the 2021-22 season. Paul and the Thunder likely won’t agree to a buyout, as CP3 would have to give up a lot of money. “Here’s what executives expect to happen: They expect the Thunder to put out a message that, ‘We’re not looking to trade Chris Paul. We want him here.’ Because they don’t want anybody to think they’re in panic trying to trade him,” Windhorst said on ESPN’s The Jump. “And they wanna hope that somebody has something happen where they need Chris Paul.”
Maddie Lee: Sam Presti on Chris Paul: "I think he has an opportunity to really impact the team in a positive way." He would not estimate how long Paul will be with the Thunder.
According to Brian Windhorst of ESPN, the only way the Heat are going to take on Paul’s monster contract from the Thunder is if the future Hall of Famer agrees to decline that lucrative 2021-22 player option. “The other thing I heard was that it was basically if Chris wanted to get traded to the Heat now, he would maybe have had to been willing to decline his player option,” Windhorst said on the Hoop Collective Podcast.
Multiple sources told The Athletic last week that the Thunder traded Westbrook for Paul along with two draft picks and two pick-swap options, fully comfortable with the idea that Paul could be on the roster this season. And ESPN on Wednesday reported there’s an “increasing expectation” Paul will start the season in Oklahoma City given the limited trade suitors for his considerable contract.
The Oklahoma City Thunder's discussions to move nine-time All-Star guard Chris Paul to a new destination are parked, and an increasing expectation exists that he will start the season with the team, league sources tell ESPN.
Oklahoma City has been working with Paul and his representatives on finding a trade, but nothing is materializing so deep into summer free agency, sources said. Both sides believe there are benefits to Paul, 34, playing out the season with the Thunder. For now, there's a belief that there could be more success exploring trade scenarios again after Dec. 15 -- or even the completion of the 2019-20 season, league sources said.
For now, Oklahoma City doesn't feel a need to surrender draft compensation to unload Paul's contract, sources said. The Thunder want to be competitive and believe that Paul can serve as a mentor to Gilgeous-Alexander, a second-year guard who's considered the franchise's future playmaker.
Adrian Wojnarowski: OKC has been working with Chris Paul and his representatives on finding a trade, but nothing is materializing so deep into summer free agency, sources said. Both sides believe there are benefits to Paul, 34, playing out the year with the Thunder.
Barry Jackson: ... Heat knew deal made no sense for them otherwise because it would have restricted 2021 flexibility. Level of enthusiasm for Paul inside the Heat has been far below level of enthusiasm for Westbrook before Westbrook was traded
Jonathan Feigen: Thunder GM Sam Presti, in the statement on Chris Paul: "Getting a player of Chris’ caliber gives us another experienced playmaker and leader, while the additional draft picks continue to allow us to further commit to the long-term vision that we are embarking on for the Thunder.”
So yes, the Heat will need some incentive to take on that hefty contract, and it appears they’re asking for just that. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst appeared on “SportsCenter” Monday night, reporting that Miami is Paul’s preferred destination. One catch — they want their picks back. OKC holds two of Miami’s future first-round selections and, according to Windhorst, the Heat want those included in a potential deal.
“When you talk about him potentially going to the Miami Heat, which is his preference, one thing I’ve been told in the talks; the fact that the Thunder hold the two of the Heat’s first-round picks in the future — unprotected 2021, protected 2023 — makes this a difficult conversation because the Heat want those picks back,” Windhorst said. “The Thunder have expressed an interest in giving one of those picks back but they would want another pick farther off into the future. So I do think that these teams have a lot to talk about.”
Rick Bonnell: I’ve been told the Hornets don’t want Paul’s contract. It’s dramatically longer and larger than Batum’s. And with Rozier here, what purpose would that trade serve?
Barry Jackson: OKC, to this point, has offered nothing enticing enough to seriously interest Heat in Chris Paul talks. Heat won't close door if that changes, but this is OKC trying to move Paul, not Heat actively pursuing player
Miami would need to be absolutely overwhelmed to consider taking on the final three years and $124 million of Paul’s contract, considering the veteran point guard’s age (34) and lack of durability. Paul has missed 21, 24 and 24 games the past three seasons, and as ESPN’s Dan Le Batard noted, the Heat entered the offseason hesitant to commit big money to aging stars.
Multiple sources said the Thunder are comfortable with the idea of Paul on the roster next season. A core of Paul, Steven Adams and Danilo Gallinari — acquired along with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in the George trade — might not be good enough to make the playoffs nor bad enough to bottom out in the lottery.
Maddie Lee: Even if the Thunder does keep Chris Paul for the remainder of his contract, they'll save money in 2022-23. Paul is owed $124 million over the next three seasons. Westbrook has four years and $170 million left on his contract (player option in the final year).
Presti already is working with Paul's agents at CAA Sports -- Leon Rose and Steven Heumann -- to redirect the nine-time All-Star to a new team, league sources tell ESPN. The Heat are prominent in the conversations, but there are other possibilities also being explored, sources said. Presti and Rose worked together last year on a similar situation with Carmelo Anthony.
There also could be a group of high-end restricted free agents in that summer of 2021, including Donovan Mitchell, De’Aaron Fox, Lauri Markkanen, and Jayson Tatum. The Heat loves Beal — a UF grad and longtime admirer of Dwyane Wade — and is expected to be a serious contender for him in 2021 if he doesn’t sign an extension with Washington. Though ESPN said Miami is now a possibility to take on the last three years and $124 million of Paul’s contract, that would leave the Heat without the cap space to sign a free agent in 2021 unless Miami traded for one of those 2021 free agents in the months or year before.
Bobby Marks: Chris Paul can be traded immediately after the trade is finalized. The two-month restriction only applies if his salary is aggregated with another player on the Thunder.

http://twitter.com/MarkBermanFox26/status/1149480670835511296
The Thunder could continue to work to find a new team for the 34-year-old Paul, league sources said. If the Thunder keep Paul, they'll have a representative lineup that currently includes him, center Steven Adams and forward Danilo Gallinari.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Houston hoped to find third-team destination preferable to Chris Paul, but ultimately leaves it OKC to execute next step once Presti confers w/ CP3 agent Leon Rose. Miami remains possibility for Paul (3 years, $124M) -- and OKC obviously has picks to incentivize deal, if needed.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Houston hoped to find third-team destination preferable to Chris Paul, but ultimately leaves it OKC to execute next step once Presti confers w/ CP3 agent Leon Rose. Miami remains possibility for Paul (3 years, $124M) -- and OKC obviously has picks to incentivize deal, if needed.
Ramona Shelburne: The Thunder was focused first on doing right by Russell Westbrook in this trade, sources said. He preferred Houston, a source said. Now they’ll turn their attention to Chris Paul and what he wants. Remember, CP3 began his career in OKC (relocated from NOLA briefly)
Brett Dawson: Can confirm the @Adrian Wojnarowski report that Russell Westbrook is headed to Houston for Chris Paul and a package of first-round picks and pick swaps. Houston was a preferred destination for Westbrook, and OKC worked to get him there.
Sam Amick: For those wondering, source tells @TheAthletic that OKC does this deal with full anticipation that Chris Paul will be part of a good team that now has a treasure trove of future assets. Gallinari, SGA, Adams, Roberson, Noel core, and EIGHT new 1st rounders, as @Travonne noted.
Shams Charania: Sources: Pick protections in Thunder/Rockets, Russell Westbrook/Chris Paul trade: 2024 first round pick, protected 1-4 2026 first round pick, protected 1-4 2025 swap, 1-20 protected 2021 swap, protected 1-4 -- OKC can swap Clippers pick or Heat pick.
Yossi Gozlan: Thunder's draft chest now includes (aside from their own): 2020 Nuggets (top 10 protected) 2021 Heat 2021 Rockets (swap) 2022 Clippers 2023 Clippers (swap) 2023 Heat (lottery protected) 2024 Clippers 2024 Rockets 2025 Clippers (swap) 2025 Rockets (swap) 2026 Rockets 2026 Clippers
A source said that Paul would not necessarily need to be involved in a deal that delivers Westbrook to the Rockets, although his $38.5 million salary is a perfect match with Westbrook's. Paul has $125 million over three years remaining on his contract, while Westbrook has $171 remaining over four years, including a player option for $46.7 million in 2022-23. Morey has acknowledged aggressively exploring the trade market this offseason but said recently that Paul and perennial All-NBA guard James Harden are the two players who will definitely return to the Rockets next season.
Paul never demanded a trade from the Rockets, league sources tell The Athletic, nor would there be much of a market for one. League sources said Houston officials and Paul met after the season ended in their Game 6 loss to the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference semifinals, and both sides discussed the future. Paul informed the Rockets that if they decided to go younger and move in a different direction, he would understand and be a pro about it, according to league sources.
Rumors and speculation could not touch Chris Paul now — if they ever could — not here, not on a day like this. The Rockets guard, surrounded by his family in a break in the Go Hoop Day celebrations he co-founded, never seemed more comfortable, more in control, talking about his vision for the event and recognized by the City of Los Angeles for driving it. He had briefly addressed his place with the Rockets and future between portions of the clinics held on Sunday at Crete Academy. But there was one more point to make.
“I never asked for a trade,” Paul said. “I never demanded a trade.” He did not seem angry about the reports that he had, in part because he had nearly completed the day’s events on a near-perfect Southern California afternoon. He had stepped away for a place on nearby picnic tables, surrounded by his large family, munching on a plant-based burger from one of the event’s sponsors, Beyond Meat, as Paul completed his 11th day since becoming a vegan.
By then, the day’s celebration of basketball might have made it difficult to get too worked up over the off-season rumor mill. Paul was much more effusive about that cause, but he did briefly address speculation that he wants to leave the Rockets and that there is a rift with star backcourt mate James Harden. “I’ll be in Houston,” Paul said. “I’m happy about that. I’m very happy about that. I’m good.”
The Rockets recently explored trading Chris Paul into New York’s cap space, but the Knicks refused, according to league sources. Trading Paul would have positioned the Rockets to be a Clint Capela or Eric Gordon trade away from freeing up the cap space to sign Jimmy Butler, who league sources say they plan to pursue. Injuries to the Warriors opened up the West, and there’s a scramble to accumulate talent and take advantage of Golden State’s misfortune.
Asked if Paul or his representatives had asked that he be traded, Morey said, “No. Can you convey my disdain in my ‘no.’ It’s so annoying at this point. “I’ve talked to Chris since (they were eliminated by the Warriors), for sure. Myself, Mike D’Antoni, James Harden are all super competitive, all frustrated we were eliminated from the playoffs, all want to get over the hump. That leads to a lot of competitive fire. All of it is normal. We’re all in the same boat, pursuing the championship. We’re all frustrated we’re not there. But there is nothing past that.”
Morey, saying Paul will return for a third season with the Rockets, has characterized trade talks as typical. Known to be one of the league’s most aggressive general managers, Morey would seem limited to discussing deals involving starters, with Nene the only reserve from the Rockets’ postseason roster under contract and extremely limited in how often he is available to play. Teams are not permitted to trade players that will be free agents.
Mark Berman: #Rockets owner @Tilman Fertitta on James Harden & Chris Paul: "These are 2 very competitive athletes & all they want to do is win a championship together for the Houston Rockets. We're excited to have them back and we look forward to using this opportunity to try to be successful"
Jonathan Feigen: A thoroughly exasperated Daryl Morey said Chris Paul and his reps have never asked to trade him and he will be on Rockets next season. Said he and Harden do not have issues with one another and that he has spoken to both often this off-season about free agency evaluations, plans.

https://twitter.com/Rockets_Insider/status/1141094280481714176

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The backcourt mates went nearly two months without speaking to each other during the season, sources said, creating a tenuous environment for teammates and everyone involved with the franchise. Harden hasn’t returned Paul’s repeated attempts at communicating this offseason, sources said, after a year in which the pair repeatedly got under each other’s skin with petty acts in practices and games.
Harden’s ball-dominant style and unwillingness to give others like Paul space to operate have grated on Paul, leading to the nine-time All-Star issuing his trade demand to Rockets general manager Daryl Morey after the season. Sources said Paul would curse at head coach Mike D’Antoni about the offense bogging down after Harden would ask to come into the game to join the second unit, with Paul heading to the bench. “It can’t be fixed,” another league source told Yahoo Sports about the Harden-Paul partnership.
The Rockets have had conversations around Capela — and had preliminary conversations about All-Star Chris Paul, including discussing Paul deals with teams that have the necessary cap space to absorb his three years and $125 million after the free-agency moratorium in July, league sources said.
SportsTalk 790: .@SeanUnfiltered: "Does Chris Paul want to be traded?" @dmorey: "No, Chris Paul does not want to be traded." @SeanUnfiltered: "Will you field calls on Chris Paul?" @dmorey: "No, we want to add one more star to this team."
Charlotte and Miami are among the teams that could be interested in Paul. Phoenix is weighing its options at point guard, but there is an outside chance they'd get involved. And keep an eye on the Lakers or Knicks - it's likely that one of them will strike out in free agency and need a face-saving trade to rescue the summer. Paul is a face-saving trade target.
“Whatever it takes to get over that final hump to get a championship, that’s what we’re going to do. On the coaching front, I … recommended we make some changes. If there’s a trade out there that helps us, great, we’ll do that as well. “Our starting five this year I would put up there with anyone. If there’s a trade out there that helps, we’ll do that. We’re going to keep all of our key people.” Fertitta said there will always be “noise” about the Rockets looking to make moves because “I’m a deal guy and he’s a deal guy.”
Paul is the Rockets star who hit the trade block with a thud this week when ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Rockets were looking to clean house this offseason coming out of a disappointing conference semifinal loss to the Warriors. According to one front-office executive, a trade for Paul would be "something where if I am taking back your dead wood, you've got to take back some of mine."
"As a player, of course you would take him on," one general manager told Sporting News. "He is experienced. He is a smart guy. He can be good for young point guards to be around the way he sees the floor. But he lost a step. At the same time, he is gaining a big, big contract." Losing the step can be seen in his play in the pick-and-roll, always a staple of his game. In 2015-16, he put up 0.94 points per possession as a pick-and-roll ball hander, which was in the 89th percentile. In 2016-17, it was 0.96 points per possession, good the 83rd percentile. Last year, his first season in Houston, was one of his most efficient ever in the PNR: 1.02 points per possession, the 91st percentile.
"It will have to be a salary dump," the front-office executive said. "You might get back a decent player and a draft pick. But mostly, it is getting that contract off your books for the next three years. Chris can't stay healthy. He has not been the same player. It's hard to imagine him going back to the way he was. "If you're Houston, you're happy just to move him along and let someone else pay him. But you're going to have to take back a bad contract in the bargain."
John Gambadoro: I despise this time of year for these reasons - stupid rumors. NO the Suns will not trade for Chris Paul. Any thought of such a possibility is ridiculous. It will not happen. Not sure there is a team in the league dumb enough to trade for a 34 year old with 124 mill left on deal.
Wojnarowski reports that all players under contract, besides James Harden, could be moved in the right deal. That leaves players such as aging point guard Chris Paul, the star who is reportedly in conflict with Harden. And it leaves a player like Capela, who an NBA source tells DBcom the Mavs surely envision as a fine front-court partner alongside Kristaps Porzingis.
Paul's remaining contract (three years, $124 million) and advancing age (34) does make deal possibilities somewhat prohibitive. The Harden-Paul dynamic wasn't without its challenges this year for the Rockets, league sources said.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources: In calls to front offices, Houston GM Daryl Morey is showing an aggressive desire to improve roster with all players and picks available in talks. Hard to imagine James Harden scenario, but the rest under contract - perhaps even Chris Paul - could be moved in right deal.
Kevin Durant the Rockets trading for Chris Paul: "I'm not surprised by anything, but it was kind of like 'Hmm. Damn, that's a smart move. I wouldn't think anybody would be that smart to pull that off.' I think it was a great move. You put two guys together that are crafty with the ball, they're going to get everybody shots and they going to get each other shots. It was a ballsy move to pull off by [Rockets GM Daryl] Morey. I don't think anybody would have thought to do that."
Michael Gallagher: Daryl Morey on ESPN: "We're obviously chasing a juggernaut." Added the CP3 trade with the Clips took only about 2 days to come together.
Lob City is over. Chris Paul is a Houston Rocket, and LA Clippers president and head coach Doc Rivers is ready to move on. "That part is over. And that bugs me," Rivers said in an interview with ESPN. "But we're not done trying to reach our goal. Sometimes you gotta do it a different way. Because the way we tried to do it didn't work."
Storyline: Chris Paul Trade?
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July 10, 2020 | 7:41 am EDT Update
“KCP has been one of the brightest parts of our season this year,” Vogel said. “He had a terrific stretch there, in particular that time where Avery was out, and after a little bit of a slow start, really being one of the leaders on our team in playing harder than our opponent. The hustle, the intensity, changing ends of the floor and the shot-making he exhibited during that stretch and really most of our season was a huge reason for our record.
July 10, 2020 | 2:02 am EDT Update
“When I got traded, I remember I felt betrayed,” Deng told Tshabalala. “Because the guy who traded me obviously ruined the team — and I don’t mind saying that now, I would never speak about him as a person — but just the decisions that he’s made. Because it changed the whole course of what we were trying to do. When Derrick got hurt, we really felt that we were going to win a championship, but when he broke up the team, you just feel hurt because we became so close as a team. But we had a mission. And that was to wait for Derrick to get healthy and go at it again, but he decided to just break up the team.”
“I gave up a lot of money to stay with the Bulls,” Deng said to Tshabalala, alluding to a past contract (presumably, a six-year, $71 million extension he inked as a 23-year-old in 2008) he said he signed with the team against the wishes of some in his camp, who wanted him to explore more lucrative options elsewhere. “So when they came back again for my next contract, the year before the contract, me and Thibs went in and we talked to Gar Forman, (who) at the time was the GM, and we said, I want to sign right now before the free agency comes up and other people offer money. And at the time, he said — I was 27? 28? — he told me to take another team discount. “And I remember saying, ‘Why would I take another team discount? Why is there a discount again?’ You know, because this is when I was an All-Star. So he said, ‘We want you to take a team discount.’ So I was like, ‘OK, what’s a team discount?’ and he didn’t discuss anything. And at the time, it didn’t make sense for where I’m at, at the best of my career.”
“Thibs was upset, and Thibs kept telling them (the front office), ‘Sign Lu, I need you to sign Lu,’” Deng told Tshabalala. “So when the [2013-14 season] started, I wasn’t signed for the Bulls, and Thibs decided he was going to make them know how important I am for the team, and ran everything through me — and this is why I love Thibs still today… I was averaging 20 (points per game) at the time when I got traded. When the front office saw that I was averaging 20, obviously now, everybody wanted to pay me more money. So they decided that it was better to trade me before they lose me for nothing.
Terrence Ross ( @TerrenceRoss ) gives us a sneak peak at the NBA players’ game room/lounge. It includes PlayStation 4’s, arcade games, ping pong tables, a pool table, and a seating area.

Storyline: Orlando Bubble
For Wizards point guard Ish Smith, though, it’s no big deal at all. He was asked about the food and gave the type of humble, down-to-earth answer you would expect from him. “I’m okay. I’m low maintenance and I’m thankful for anything and everything. You’re asking the wrong person. You might have to ask somebody else who lives a little bit more of a high maintenance life,” he said. “For me, I’m thankful, I’m blessed. They bring us food, we eat it. I have no problems.”
My thoughts on wing depth were addressed in the previous question. As for those specific prospects, Okoro’s athleticism and defensive instincts stand out the most to the scouts I’ve talked to. Both Karnisovas and Eversley said they like players with defensive versatility, a trend in today’s NBA. Okoro projects to be able to guard point guard to power forward. Questions exist about his shooting ability, but he’s also got an improve-at-all-costs mindset.
Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson started the firestorm by sharing anti-Semitic quotes on Instagram he attributed to Adolf Hitler, saying Jews “will blackmail America” for their “plan for world domination.” He praised Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, pegged an anti-Semite by the Anti-Defamation League and Southern Poverty Law Center. Durant liked a Jackson post complimenting Farrakhan after his July 4 speech, where he ripped Jews and said blacks shouldn’t take a coronavirus vaccine because Bill Gates and Dr. Anthony Fauci are trying to “depopulate the Earth.”
July 9, 2020 | 9:32 pm EDT Update
July 9, 2020 | 8:57 pm EDT Update
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July 9, 2020 | 8:12 pm EDT Update

The parents of a California man who died after a security guard allegedly put a knee on his neck filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the security company and Sacramento police. Mario Matthew, 39, was “unreasonably restrained” by private security guards and later responding officers inside of Golden 1 Center, home of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings, on July 2, according to a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday by the man’s parents, Elizabeth Avila and Mark Matthews.
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