Winners and Losers of the Chris Paul Trade
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) November 16, 2020
The trade makes sense for both teams. The Thunder are shipping off all of their best players in an effort to completely rebuild and the Suns are clearly in win-now mode. With that being said, the Chris Paul trade works out better for some parties than others.
Chris Paul, in the trade to the Suns, just joined a new competitor in the Western Conference. He’ll be lining up alongside an elite young duo in Devin Booker and DeAndre Ayton and a Suns squad that went undefeated during their time in the NBA bubble.
Paul will look to win his first ring with this talented Suns team. The Suns have a great coach in Monty Williams and, on paper, Paul will be a good fit in Phoenix. It’ll be tough to overcome teams like the Los Angeles Lakers and newly-healthy Golden State Warriors, but Chris Paul’s trade to Phoenix puts him in a better position to win than he was in OKC.
Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder just shipped off their best player in Chris Paul. He jump-started their improbable postseason run, averaging 17.6 points, 6.7 assists, and 1.6 steals along the way.
The return isn’t what it could be. The Thunder received Oubre, a past-his-prime Rubio, two G-League prospects in Jerome and Lecque (who, despite showing incredible athleticism, hasn’t displayed NBA-level skill), and a first-round pick.
The pick and Oubre—who averaged 18.7 points and 6.4 rebounds last season—make this trade a bit less lopsided, but the deal still favours Phoenix.
Potentially the only win for the Thunder after letting Chris Paul walk in the trade is that they’ve cleared out some cap space in preparation for a strong 2021 free agency. Unfortunately, Oklahoma City isn’t a prime destination, so don’t expect any big names to choose OKC over Miami and LA.
Paul was the piece that the Suns were missing. The 35-year-old point guard will provide a much-needed veteran voice in the locker room who’s proven he can lead a team to the playoffs (see Hornets, Clippers, Rockets, Thunder). More importantly though, he’s still an All-Star calibre player who can facilitate and score at a high level.
Right now, the Suns, who already flashed brilliance during their 8-0 stretch in the bubble, are inching closer to being one of the top contenders in the West.
It seemed as though Rubio had found a home in Phoenix after spending the bulk of his career with the Minnesota Timberwolves. The 30-year-old point guard averaged 13.0 points and 8.8 assists for the Suns last season and seemed ready to run it back.
He’ll likely play a big role on the Thunder, but veterans on rebuilding teams rarely thrive. Rubio made his feelings about the trade clear on social media.
… what a business 🙃
— Ricky Rubio (@rickyrubio9) November 16, 2020
The 22-year-old Hamilton, Ontario, native is heading into his third year in the league after a breakout sophomore campaign. After sharing the ball with two veteran point guards for the entirety of the 2019-20 season and still managing to average 19.0 points per game, Gilgeous-Alexander has to be excited about the opportunity by Schröder and Chris Paul’s trades.
Standing at 6’5”, Gilgeous-Alexander had all the physical tools to succeed in the NBA in his first two seasons. Now that he’s the man in OKC, he has the opportunity to go along with them.