Moving Paul has seemed like the next logical step since a trade that brought him from Houston in exchange for Russell Westbrook was agreed upon last week. The deal become official last night, but it appears any potential market for Paul has dried up.
The Thunder have been working with the nine-time All-Star and his representatives to find an acceptable deal, but both sides now see benefits to having him spend the season in Oklahoma City, Wojnarowski adds. Because the trade happened so far into free agency, few contenders have the flexibility to take on Paul, who will make $124MM over the next three years. OKC may re-examine its options once most of the newly signed free agents become eligible to be traded on December 15, or after next season is complete.
GM Sam Presti would be happy to have Paul for the entire season, Woj relays, and Paul views the Thunder as a playoff contender with Danilo Gallinari, Steven Adams, Dennis Schroder and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander already in place. Woj adds that the Thunder don’t believe they should have to give up any draft considerations to move Paul’s contract. They acquired two first-rounders and two pick swaps in the deal with Houston.