The Chris Paul trade rumors are still swirling following his deal that sent him from Houston to Oklahoma City. With that in mind, Andrew Sharp and The Washington Post's Ben Golliver of the Open Floor podcast consider a potential landing spot for the All-Star point guard. They consider this deal, Paul's public perception after the Rockets traded him to the Thunder and more.
(Listen to the latest Open Floor podcast here. The following transcript has been edited and condensed for clarity.)
Andrew Sharp: One other aspect of this Rockets trade is Chris Paul side, and our listener, Abdul, says "Is a Chris Paul Minnesota trade realistic? I would assume it would have to involve some combination of Jeff Teague's expiring, Andrew Wiggins and some sort of future asset on Minnesota's part." What do you think about where Chris Paul is going to end up? Would he be willing to play for a team like Minnesota?
I want to thank all the e-mailers. We had like seven or eight people write in to ask how I would feel about a John Wall for Chris Paul trade. I wouldn't feel great about Chris Paul at this point his career showing up to just be miserable in D.C. I feel like a lot of teams are sort of in that spot where they're like, "Yeah, Chris Paul could maybe help us, but he doesn't want to be here and we probably don't need him that much." Minnesota would go from 11th place to maybe eighth place with Chris Paul. What do you think?
Ben Golliver: Well, let's get back to Minnesota in a second. You'd still do that Wall trade though, wouldn't you?
Sharp: What? Wall for Chris Paul. Probably not. I think that they're gonna be able to do something more interesting with John Wall than trade him for like the twilight Chris Paul. I love Chris Paul at his peak, but I just feel like at this point he's kind of spinning his wheels until he can get a buyout from somebody who's going to give him most of his money, and then he'll go play for the Lakers or something.
Golliver: Well, so on the Chris Paul side of this first of all, I saw a lot of people kind of pointing out that some of the problems with the collective-bargaining agreement are sort of that at his doorstep because he was pushing so hard for the supermax and taking care of the the max-level guys at the expense of the middle-class players. I wonder if he could have predicted how this would play out for him though, because this has got to be pretty darn close to the worst-case scenario for him, right? He goes from the Clippers to the Rockets.
Sharp: You and I predicted this. He signed in Houston, he started slow this year, and back in November I wrote that the Rockets are going to trade Chris Paul within 18 months. And you and I came on the podcast and talked about it and were like, "Yeah, there's no question that Daryl Morey is going to pull the rip cord the first opportunity he gets." The writing was on the wall if you were looking at this in a macro context.
Golliver: So he gets paid but now he's on this Oklahoma City team just kind of in purgatory. Is he going to stay? Is he going to go? If he stays they go nowhere. His reputation is definitely taking a beating in terms of trade value. Look what Houston had to attach just to give Russell Westbrook who's got one of the worst contracts in the entire league, and then now Sam Presti's going to probably have to move some mountains to get a deal done involving Chris Paul. And you've got you know the ultimate beggars of the league, the Washington Wizards, who are saying, "No, no thanks, we're gonna be choosers on this one. We're not even going to worry about Chris Paul." So this is a pretty substantial fall from grace for him, and I don't know what the happy ending is. We talked about how Oklahoma City involved Westbrook in the trade conversations to make sure they did right by him, like Oklahoma City doesn't you have to do that for Chris Paul.
They could trade him basically anywhere. They they might out of just a favor, but it's not the same relationship dynamic, loyalty dynamic that existed with Westbrook. So Chris Paul, for this guy who's really done a nice job over the last five or six years consolidating power on and off the court trying to better his own chances at furthering his legacy, winning a title, competing at the highest level. It basically just blew up in his face and I don't know exactly how he's going to undo that. From that standpoint, it's kind of a shame. It's not like I feel bad for most sincerely because this was of his own doing to a large degree, but he is one of the losers of the chess match for this summer.
Now on the Minnesota side, I spent a decent amount of time just talking to their people here in Las Vegas because they happen to be playing the championship game tonight, so they've been around for a while. They're preaching sustainability big time. That's the whole thing and it's all about Karl-Anthony Towns. Their mission is KAT, KAT, KAT, and left unsaid is the worst-case scenario is KAT just decides, "You know what? I'm seeing all these other older superstars do it. I want to just pull the plug and leave Minnesota." And at that point they would be really up a creek. So they're going out of their way to sort of make him happy, and I think that was really a major driving force behind their chase for D'Angelo Russell. So when I'm looking at making KAT happy and sustainability as their priorities, Chris Paul doesn't fit either one of those things. So I just think that, to the e-mailer's point, is this realistic or unrealistic? To me, it looks unrealistic. But you never know.