The Rockets had hoped to find a third team to join the Russell Westbrook trade that was preferable to Chris Paul, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com hears (Twitter link). The Thunder have been in contact with Paul’s agent, Leon Rose.
The Heat remain a possibility for Paul’s services, Woj adds. If Paul prefers to go to Miami, the Thunder would have interest in sending him there and would engage in trade talks with Pat Riley‘s club, The Athletic’s Sam Amick tweets.
Miami was rumored to be in the hunt for Westbrook but now could turn to Paul as an alternate. The Thunder can immediately trade Paul as long as they don’t aggregate his salary in the deal (unlikely to happen with his $38.5MM figure). Oklahoma City could also hold off on finalizing the Westbrook trade and search for a suitor in order to make it a three-teamer.
It would be difficult to envision Miami giving up major assets for Paul. However, if the price is simply matching salary, then it would seem favorable to the Heat, as I recently detailed for SLAM Magazine. Miami is hard-capped, meaning team salary can’t exceed the tax apron of $138.93MM. The Heat currently have about $987K in wiggle room, per cap expert Albert Nahmad (Twitter link).
Paul has three seasons and $124MM left on his deal. The last year of the pact is a player option.