Thunder news: OKC doesn't want to surrender draft compensation to trade Chris Paul
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Report: OKC doesn’t want to surrender draft compensation to trade Chris Paul

Chris Paul

If the Oklahoma City Thunder continue driving such a hard bargain, Chris Paul may remain with the team far longer than anyone anticipated.

In a story indicating the Thunder’s inability to find attractive trade offers for Paul and willingness to play out the 2019-20 season with him on the roster, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski noted that general manager Sam Presti doesn’t want to surrender draft picks to unload the future Hall of Famer.

For now, Oklahoma City doesn’t feel a need to surrender draft compensation to unload Paul’s contract, sources said. They 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.

It bears reminding that the Thunder are best-served by insisting they’re comfortable holding onto Paul for the foreseeable future. Trades are rarely won when starting from a position of weakness, and the realities of Paul’s albatross contract and Oklahoma City’s status as a non-contender ensures interested teams will begin conversations with some leverage over the Thunder. They could also be pretty good, too, with a core of Paul, Shae Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari, and Steven Adams.

Of course, it also makes sense that Presti and company would be reluctant to dip into their treasure trove of draft picks just to trade Paul. Every single pick and pick swap accrued in the Paul George and Russell Westbrook trades represents a means of future improvement. Why would the front office be willing to dilute all of that promise before making sure every single trade possibility is exhausted?

Paul probably won’t be traded before tipoff of the regular season. But between December 15, when newly-signed players are eligible to be traded, and the trade deadline, definitely don’t be surprised if he’s on the move again.