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Suns, Thunder, Chris Paul trade

Grading the Suns’ blockbuster trade for Thunder star Chris Paul

The Phoenix Suns are finalizing their rumored trade for Oklahoma City Thunder star guard Chris Paul. The deal sends Paul to Phoenix along with Abdel Nader in exchange for Kelly Oubre Jr., Ricky Rubio, Ty Jerome and Jalen Lecque along with a 2022 first-round pick.

The Suns did indeed have to give up a considerable amount to make the deal work with the Thunder for monetary purposes, which saw them ship out a few solid players in Oubre and Rubio. Even so, Paul more than makes up for Oubre’s point production and gives the Suns some much-needed playmaking that will open up Devin Booker for more spot-up looks and cuts to the basket, making this trade more than acceptable.

Phoenix is trying to build off its 8-0 run in the bubble and get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2010. While trading for a 35-year-old in Paul has its risks, it’s a gamble worth taking for this franchise.

Suns: B+

The Suns made it known following the end of the 2019-20 season that they’d be big spenders coming into the offseason, and they’ve partially completed that objective.

Shipping off Kelly Oubre is certainly a casualty that the Suns’ front office will acknowledge, though it was for the greater good. Phoenix didn’t even have Oubre during the incredible bubble run. Likewise, losing Ricky Rubio is tough but ultimately worth it for a future Hall of Famer in Chris Paul. Furthermore, Phoenix didn’t have to trade the No. 10 pick in this draft in this deal, and there are still other ways to improve the roster.

One area that makes this trade fall short of an “A” is simply due to Paul’s age and contract. The 35-year-old veteran guard still has two years (second year is a player option) left on a deal that’ll bring in $85 million, which is certainly a risk for any club.

Paul will be paired with both Booker and Deandre Ayton, two youngsters who have the potential to be future co-stars for Phoenix. While the move doesn’t make them legitimate title contenders, the Suns have returned to relevancy in the Western Conference and should be a playoff team.

Thunder: A+

The Thunder were able to succeed in their efforts to flip Chris Paul’s big contract for some certified role players along with a 2022 first-rounder. What makes this deal such a success is that the Thunder can truly control their future with such a massive amount of picks under their belt along with some flexible salary for the future.

They’ve brought aboard a quality veteran point guard in Rubio and a budding wing in Oubre who’s still just 24 years old. OKC could choose to keep both of these players, or they could also be shipped out in the future for even more assets.

The Thunder’s treasure trove of picks is truly astonishing:

This is a great way to rebuild a franchise.