Chris Paul has landed with the Oklahoma City Thunder after the Houston Rockets traded him for Russell Westbrook on Thursday, yet the dime maestro is likely to find another home soon before the start of the 2019-20 season.
These are three potential scenarios that could work out for the 33-year-old floor general:
The Heat are once again at the forefront of negotiations to acquire their point guard of the future after they struck out on their chance to acquire Westbrook earlier on Thursday.
Miami is reportedly still hellbent in taking rookie Tyler Herro and center Bam Adebayo off the table, but are open to move forward Justise Wiinslow, who played the point guard position during the latter part of the season.
A potential pairing of Paul and firecracker Jimmy Butler could seem of the same concern of pairing Butler with Westbrook, but that is certainly not the case. Some assume crazy and crazy simply won’t work out, but it’s pairing the same types of crazy that ultimately make some of the deadliest combinations.
Unlike a pair of AAA batteries, Paul and Butler are of the same polarity and their “crazy” revolves on the same dogged competitive spirit that will have them do whatever it takes to win a basketball game.
While some could argue Westbrook is of a similar mindset, the Venice Beach native believes in doing it all for a win, which is distinctively different from doing whatever is asked of him to make that happen.
Paul and Butler are wired through the same cable circuit, a coincidence that could help them thrive as teammates. Both veterans are savvy with the ball and have a mastery of the mid-range game built into their basketball fiber, which only make them that much more intriguing of a pairing.
If the Heat can bend their desire to keep both Herro and Adebayo and concede in order to trade for Paul, they could ultimately have the point guard they’ve been looking for all offseason long.
This is simply my ambition to see just how much crazy we could pack on a trade.
Paul forcing his way out of the L.A. Clippers to wind up in Houston with James Harden, only to end up in OKC and then be consequently dealt to the Detroit Pistons to land right back alongside Blake Griffin would be NBA comedy at its finest, straight out of a Cam Magruder free agency special.
The two reportedly had their differences during their six seasons together in L.A. — but if they’re able to let bygones be bygones after two years apart, they could re-ignite Lob City in the Motor City… Motorlob City?… Maybe that’s too suggestive for the general public.
On the contrary, should their issues resurface, they could very well bring back Malice at the Palace 15 years after its inception, perhaps Malice at the Little Caesars Arena? — scratch that, it doesn’t have the same ring to it, does it?
Either way, the Pistons were one of the teams clamoring for Westbrook’s services before he was dealt to Houston on Thursday, and their desire for a quality point guard hasn’t changed.
Detroit was limited to signing Derrick Rose and Tim Frazier in free agency — neither of them being a wow signing or a player expected to significantly impact their season. Chris Paul is that very player they want, a play starter and an orchestrator that can create for capable play finishers like Griffin and frontcourt partner Andre Drummond.
If Paul and Griffin can put their differences aside, their potential to make some waves in a wide-open East bode well, as they’re now refined, more mature versions of themselves.
Please don’t shoot me. Yes, I said the Hornets and likely out of sentimentality reasons. Paul is a North Carolina native and has deep-rooted tied to his hometown of Winston-Salem, which is roughly an hour away from Charlotte.
If the Hornets can get anything right (ever), this would be a trade to make to gain back the sense of dignity after letting Kemba Walker walk away for Terry Rozier.
Charlotte can’t trade Rozier for another six months and it would make very little sense to do so at this point, but the Hornets could get some interest from the fans by trading for Paul, who is widely popular as a state prodigy around those whereabouts.
Rozier has shown the willingness and the ability to operate as an off guard, and the two could share the backcourt in the starting lineup. Paul can still hold his own defensively and Rozier can pick up some defensive tips along with an invaluable first-person look into how the nine-time All-Star runs the offense.
The Louisville could get an excellent opportunity to learn on the job while getting significant minutes, all while Paul could finish his career near his hometown, changing the narrative from a combustible persona to a fan favorite to close out his playing days for the next three seasons.
The Hornets can leverage his $38.5 million annual rate with expiring contracts like Marvin Williams ($15 million) and Nicolas Batum ($25.5 million in 2019-20, $27.1 million in 2020-21) whom they’ve wanted to get rid of for a while now.