Thunder Trade Chris Paul to the Suns for Package of Players, First Round Pick
Adrian Wojnarowski (ESPN) reports that the Thunder are sending Chris Paul and Abdel Nader to the Suns in exchange for the following package:
- Kelly Oubre, Jr.
- Protected 2022 first-round pick (1-12 in 2022, 1-10 in 2023, 1-8 in 2024, unprotected in 2025 and beyond)
- Ricky Rubio
- Ty Jerome
- Jalen Lecque
Paul just completed his second abbreviated stint hoopin’ in Oklahoma City, coming full circle as a friend, then foe, then friend again for the Thunder fanbase in 2019-20. Traded for Russell Westbrook in the summer of 2019, Paul’s time with OKC was more successful and fun than anyone had imagined at the disappointing conclusion of the Westbrook/Paul George era. He turned in an MVP-ballot worthy season full of clutch heroics, mentored Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and led the Thunder to a Game 7 in the first round of the postseason–their deepest playoffs run since Kevin Durant departed the franchise in 2016. The future Hall of Famer will now team up with Devin Booker in Phoenix to try and transform the upstart Suns into a contender.
Both Rubio ($34.8 million salary across two more years) and Oubre ($14.4 million on an expiring contract) could be moved again for more future-facing assets, although at 24 the latter could be folded into the Thunder’s long term plans. Both Jerome (#24 pick in the 2019 draft) and Lecque (undrafted) are entering their sophomore seasons, with just 36 games of combined experience between them.
The trade removes what little doubt remained as to when the Thunder’s rebuild would commence; it’s now in full swing. In the deal, VP & GM Sam Presti adds even more assets to the Thunder’s treasure chest of picks in the years to come.