As has been well-documented, Paul, who recently turned 35 years old, has two seasons and about $85 million due to him under his current deal. The final year of the deal is a player option worth about $44 million, though, and once upon a time, there were some who wondered whether Paul would be willing to opt out of the final year in order to either help make him a more desirable trade target for contenders or exercise his right to free agency early.
Paul, to no fault of his own, still isn’t hearing it.
He said he wouldn’t opt out in January, and he doubled-down when he appeared on ESPN’s First Take with Stephen A. Smith, Max Kellerman and guest host Charly Arnolt on Friday.
The pertinent exchange occurred when Kellerman referred back to the interview Paul did with Sports Illustrated in January where the point guard said there was “no chance” he’d leave the money on the table.
His stance, predictably, hasn’t changed.
“January was like a lifetime ago… You told Sports Illustrated at that point that you didn’t have any plans to opt out of the last year, $44 million, of your contract to seek a trade or anything like that… Where are you with that today?” Kellerman asked.
Paul remained consistent.
“I don’t control that… Sam Presti has been amazing this year and Oklahoma was amazing, obviously we’ll see what happens this summer or whatnot. It’s nice to be here and be close to my family. I think for me, I’m gonna let everything play out, see what happens, but I’m in a good place. I wish we could’ve kept advancing in the playoffs, but I don’t have no plans of opting out no time soon, neither.
As gifted as he is, Paul will turn 37 years old in the final year of his contract, and the $44 million he’ll be paid for the 2021-22 season is not money he’d be able to recoup should he opt out and leave it on the table.
Furthermore, Paul’s resurgence could bring teams such as the New York Knicks, Phoenix Suns or Chicago Bulls to the table. Each of the teams could benefit from bringing in a winner like Paul and they, unlike say, the Milwaukee Bucks, have differing levels of young players and draft capital that may be enticing to Oklahoma City.
Paul, though, isn’t doing anyone any favors, and in the twilight of his career, he certainly isn’t leaving $44 million on the table. Nor should he.
After stunning the entire NBA community this season, many teams in the NBA are interested in future hall of fame guard, Chris Paul. Currently the Bucks, Jazz, 76ers, Mavericks, Pelicans, Suns, and Pelicans are all interested per Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson.
After falling in the playoffs in the second-round, the Bucks will look to strengthen their roster with an all-star veteran guard to accompany Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton to form a “Big 3”. The Bucks would likely have to trade their young talent away in order to get Chris Paul since the Thunder are headed for a rebuild. Donte DiVincenzo and first-round draft picks would likely be included.Advertisements
The Jazz fell short in the first-round of the playoffs this year and would likely use Chris Paul to form a “Big 3” with Mitchell and Gobert. The Jazz do not have as many young assets to trade which makes a Paul trade to the Jazz less likely than other teams.
The 76ers have hit a wall with Simmons and Embiid and will likely try to trade for Paul in order to get past the wall. The 76ers have three players that could interest the Thunder a lot. Tobias Harris, Matisse Thybulle, and Shake Milton could all interest the Thunder along with some future draft picks.
The Mavericks fell to the Clippers in round-one of the playoffs and will look to strengthen their roster with Paul. The Mavericks do not have many young assets to trade to the Thunder making a trade between the two teams unlikely, but if the Mavericks do put something together that interests the Thunder, the Mavericks are looking to trade for Paul this offseason.
The Pelicans have plenty of young talent and after failing to make the playoffs this season, they will look to bring in Chris Paul to take them to the next level. Aside from Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson, it appears that the Pelicans could be willing to trade anyone else on their team. The Thunder will likely be interested in trading Paul for some of the rest of their young talent such as Lonzo Ball, along with some draft picks.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — Chris Paul gave the Oklahoma City Thunder at least one more game in the bubble, scoring 15 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter for a 104-100 victory over the Houston Rockets on Monday night in Game 6 of a Western Conference first-round series. Paul made two free…
Chris Paul might have won over some influential admirers March 6 during his last visit to Madison Square Garden. Some members of the New York Knicks organization see the the Oklahoma City Thunder point guard as the ideal addition to help build a winning culture under newly installed president Leon Rose, according to SNY’s Ian…
The Houston Rockets, with James Harden and Chris Paul, were one win away from taking down the Golden State Warriors during their prime, but Chris Paul injured his hamstring in a well-known pivotal Game 6. Following another loss to the unstoppable Warriors in the following season, the Rockets felt as though changes were needed and […]
Leonard scores 25, leads Clippers past Thunder 109-94 OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Kawhi Leonard scored 25 points to help the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 109-94 on Tuesday night. Montrezl Harrell and former Thunder player Paul George each added 16 points for the Clippers, who won their fifth straight. George received a […]
It’s probably safe to say Enes Kanter no longer is in Kevin Durant’s corner, if he ever was at all. In case you missed it, Durant harshly criticized his former Thunder teammates during a recent appearance on “All The Smoke,” a podcast co-hosted by ex-NBA players Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson. Durant, who played with…
• The Toronto Raptors travel to Oklahoma City on Wednesday to face the Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena. The two teams met in late December with the Thunder edging the Raptors by a score of 98-97. Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet led the team with 20 points apiece, while Serge Ibaka grabbed a seasonhigh 14 rebounds in the game. The Raptors and Thunder split the season-series in 2018-19 with the road team winning both contests. The visiting team has won the last four meetings between the two teams. Toronto will play 10-of-15 games on the road in January, their busiest road month of the season.
• Serge Ibaka recorded his career-long eighth straight double-double Sunday vs. San Antonio. He scored a team-high 21 points and grabbed season high-tying 14 rebounds in 32 minutes against the Spurs. Ibaka is just the third player in Raptors history to record a double-double in eight straight games, joining Chris Bosh (five times) and Donyell Marshall. Bosh holds the franchise record with a double-double in 10 straight games (Mar. 26 – Apr. 13, 2007). All 12 of Ibaka’s double-doubles this season have come in the last 18 games (Dec. 9 – Jan. 12). He is averaging 19.1 points and 11.5 rebounds over the last eight contests.
• Kyle Lowry will play in his 526th game as a Raptor on Wednesday, moving him into third place on the franchise’s all-time games played list – behind only DeMar DeRozan (675) and Morris Peterson (542). Lowry finished with 16 points and a season-high 15 assists Jan. 12 vs. San Antonio. Lowry has now dished out five or more assists in each of his 28 games this season, the longest single-season streak of that kind in his career. The only other players who had at least five assists in 25 straight games within a season for the Raptors are Damon Stoudamire (40-game streak in 1995–96) and Calderon (25-game streak in 2007–08 and 44-game streak in 2010–11).
• Pascal Siakam (groin; stretch) and Norman Powell (left shoulder; subluxation) returned to the lineup Sunday for the first time since being injured Dec. 18 at Detroit. Toronto went 6-5 in their absence. Siakam finished with 15 points, five rebounds and four assists against the Spurs, while Powell recorded 20 points and four assists. It was Powell’s eighth 20-point performance of the season, a mark he achieved four times in 51 games last season. Siakam ranked third among all Eastern Conference frontcourt players in the second fan returns of NBA All-Star voting.
• The Raptors currently rank third in the NBA averaging 17.6 fast-break points per game. The Thunder rank 30th in the league in that category (9.4 points per game), however they lead the NBA in fast-break points allowed (10.9 points per game). Oklahoma City outscored Toronto 9-8 on the fast-break in their first meeting. Pascal Siakam is tied with Russell Westbrook and Devin Booker for third in the NBA averaging 4.5 fast-break points, behind only Gianni Antetokounmpo (6.4) and LeBron James (4.7)
. • Reserve Rondae Hollis-Jefferson has led the bench in scoring in four of the last five games (Jan. 2-12). Hollis-Jefferson is averaging 9.6 points and 5.6 rebounds during this stretch.
• Rookie Terence Davis ll is the only Raptors player to appear in every game this season. Davis leads all rookies in +/- rating (+180) and ranks eighth with a .382 three-point percentage (47-for-123).
• Finished with eight points, three rebounds and two assists in 29 minutes Jan. 12 vs. San Antonio. • Toronto is 16-4 this season when Anunoby scores 10 or more points. • Shooting a career-best .496 (167-333) from the field, including .509 (27-53) over the last six games.
• Contributed with 15 points, five rebounds and four assists in 30 minutes Jan. 12 vs. San Antonio. • Ranks 12th in the NBA in scoring (24.7) and fourth in minutes per game (36.4). • Has scored 30+ points 10 times; had five 30-point performances in 80 games played last season.
• Recorded team-leading 12th double-double with 21 points and 14 rebounds Jan. 12 vs. San Antonio. • Averaging 18.1 points, 10.3 rebounds and 32.4 minutes in 12 games as a starter. • Shooting .518 (43-83) from the field, including .467 (7-15) from three-point range, through five games in January.
• Tallied 20 points and four assists Jan. 12 vs. San Antonio – his eighth 20-point effort of the season. • In 17 starts, averaging 17.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 31.5 minutes. • Has scored 20+ points in four of his last five games played (Dec. 11 – Jan. 12); averaging 20.4 points.
• Tallied 16 points and a season-best 15 assists for sixth double-double of the season Jan. 12 vs. San Antonio. • Tied for sixth in the NBA in assist per game (7.8); averaging 11.3 assists over the last three games (Jan. 7-12). • Has made at least two three-pointers in 15 straight games (Dec. 14 – Jan. 12); totaled 52 threes during this span.
Marc Gasol (Left hamstring; strain) – TBD Dewan Hernandez (Right ankle; sprain) – TBD Fred VanVleet (Right hamstring; strain) – TBD
(17-15) OKLAHOMA CITY, 98 VS. (22-11) TORONTO RAPTORS, 97 SCOTIABANK ARENA SUNDAY, DECEMBER 29, 2019.
TORONTO RAPTORS QUOTES
NICK NURSE (HEAD COACH)
On Terence Davis losing track of the situation … Yeah, he probably did. Obviously that was an immediate foul situation once we took it inside the 24 and he was just chasing him up and it seemed like nobody could get his attention, he was kind of away from anybody on our team running up that left side there. Yeah, obviously that’s a foul situation.
On lacking the zip you had last night … I don’t know, that’s a good team, on a back-to-back it’s going to be a little sluggish out there. I thought we played pretty hard, I was pretty proud of how hard we played. Early on, I thought guys turned it over a little carelessly early, right when they checked in. We kind of got that under control and I thought we had a lot of open shots in the first half we didn’t make and I thought we had a lot of open shots in the second half we didn’t make either. I thought we fought hard, so I am really proud of the guys for that.
On playing four guards and a centre … It was more a case of I think, a little bit of shooting and again, just trying to get the guys that were playing good tonight on the floor. Terence (Davis) started to make a couple, left him, Pat (McCaw) made a couple, with one big and Kyle (Lowry) and Fred (VanVleet), and so that was probably more the case. They were collapsing down in the paint pretty hard on Fred and Kyle, so there was a lot of kick outs out to the outside and good thing, Terence hit a few and Pat hit a couple. Provided some good offensive support.
On Oshae Brissets’ defence… He has good feet, good anticipation, good feet, he moves over and gets his body in front of people and he has done it against some really good players. Last night it was switching out onto Kemba Walker a little bit, (Jayson) Tatum, Jaylen Brown and tonight Chris Paul and Shai (Gilgeous-Alexander). He has done a nice job for as little as experience as he has. It’s good, we need another wing, three-four type guy to be able to guard out there.
KYLE LOWRY (20 points, five assists)
Where did things go wrong in the last few minutes of the game? Just didn’t execute down the stretch. They made a couple of shots, we made a couple of turnovers, I did. It was a tough game. We did a good job on some defensive possessions and the ball bounced their way.
On having Patrick McCaw on the ball more the past few games? It’s been great. He’s playing with great confidence, he’s playing with the ability giving me and Freddie a little bit more opportunity to go out there and just run around a little bit more. He’s guarding the heck out of the ball, so it’s a plus for Patrick McCaw.
On the play of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander… He played like he was home tonight and he’s been playing like that all year. Honestly, he’s been playing unbelievable, his confidence, his patience, his pace has been great. He knows his skill set and he knows his speed and pace and nothing can really rattle him.
PATRICK MCCAW (13 points)
On your comfort level handling the ball… Just being comfortable with the ball, making plays and being on the ball more is definitely something I have to get adjusted to. For me, it’s easy, for most of my career I’ve played on the ball, so it’s not a huge adjustment. It was fun, it was great, definitely a different feel for me but I’m getting used to it.
On defending Shai Gilgeous-Alexander… He’s a great young player. He has a bright future, all-star, superstar, his ceiling is really high. I really enjoy watching him play. It’s fun playing against him and I wish him the best of luck with his career.
On your three-point shooting… I think I’m just shooting the open ones now, not really hesitating when I catch and shoot. Usually all my threes are coming from Fred. I’m ready to shoot and that is the biggest thing for me now, I’m just shooting it, I’m not thinking about it, just letting it fly.
(17-15) OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER, 98 VS. (22-11) TORONTO RAPTORS, 97 SCOTIABANK ARENA SUNDAY, DECEMBER 29, 2019
OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER QUOTES
BILLY DONOVAN (HEAD COACH)
On the defensive activity of Steven Adams and Nerlens Noel… It was hard because Serge (Ibaka) is a guy that is going to pick-and-pop and he’s going to shoot threes, and sometimes he’s rolling. So those guys have to do two things, they have to provide support in the pick and roll and then they have to be able to get back to Serge when he shoots the ball. I thought both of those guys gave us a great game on both ends of the floor, offensively and defensively.
On Shai Gilgeous-Alexander being in a groove… He’s done a nice job. Besides the scoring piece of it, just to keep on putting on his brain to think about the defence, the playmaking, the rebounding because he’s got the ability to do those things. Certainly he’s, I think, finding his areas of where he can score, and is figuring out inside of our offence when there’s really good times to really go attack and be aggressive. He’s starting to figure some of those things out.
On the defensive transition… I thought the big key, considering coming back out of the Memphis game at home, they really, really hurt us in transition. Then having to go on a back-to-back and go to Charlotte with (Devonteʹ) Graham and (Terry) Rozier, and the way they are coming down the floor with their speed in the back court, we were better. Then we knew coming in here with their speed and athleticism, that we needed to be better, even more so then we were against Charlotte. So that was important and a major focus on the game was our ability to get back in transition.
What’s it like in the moments when both teams are trading baskets the whole night? Those are the best games to be a part of because it’s so competitive, every possession. When you get a 20-point lead you tend to slack off a little, things like that, but when it’s so close you can’t. Those are the (most) fun games.
On the Thunder defence… I think we just played together and played on the string, and then rebounded. Obviously, if you don’t get a rebound none of the defence and stuff matters. We just stuck with the game plan and executed.
What’s it like to put up a performance like this in front of your home crowd? It feels good, but all of it obviously wouldn’t have meant anything if we didn’t win. That was the best feeling. Knowing that we came out of here with a win, being shorthanded.
What’s the difference between the last time you came here as a Clipper? I’m less nervous. I’ve been here before. In terms of on the court, I just feel more comfortable. I’ve gotten better, I feel like, in the summer time and in the beginning of the season, and I’m just trying to continue it.
CHRIS PAUL (25 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists)
On holding Toronto to 17 points in the fourth quarter… Man, it took discipline, staying locked in. That’s a really good team over there, even with all the injuries they got. They (are) well coached, they play hard, and that’s a big win for us given this road trip.
What are close games like for the young guys on the team? They are great because when you lose those games it can be so deflating. You know, with a team like us that’s fighting night in and night out to stay above .500 it’s a great feeling because, like I said, they are the defending champs, they know how to win close games, and we pulled this one off.
On mentoring Shai… Man, he’s doing his own thing. I just stay in his ear all the time about being aggressive and staying aggressive. He’s got it all: midrange, finishes, shooting, and his defence, his defensive intensity. There was one play he was guarding Patrick McCaw, McCaw ended up scoring, but Shai’s defence was great.