Western Notes: Paul, Collins, Gordon

Despite being traded to a presumed non-contender, veteran star Chris Paul can help steady the ship of the Thunder if both sides choose to stay together this season, Chad Smith of Basketball Insiders writes.

Paul, who’s entering his 15th season, was traded from Houston to Oklahoma City in a major deal involving Russell Westbrook this past summer. In the agreement, Oklahoma City also acquired first-round picks in 2024 and 2026 as well as pick swaps in 2021 and 2025.

While the Thunder were thought to be rebuilding after sending away both Westbrook and superstar Paul George in separate deals, the team currently has Paul, Danilo Gallinari, Steven Adams, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Andre Roberson and other veterans under contract for the upcoming season.

Paul failed to keep his footing in Houston alongside star guard James Harden, but he’s made a career out of running teams at lead guard when the ball is primarily in his hands. The Thunder can opt to keep the 34-year-old, who’s due $38.5MM, $41.3MM and $44.2MM (player option) in each of the next three seasons, or look to trade him and offload his contract from their books.

There’s more out of the Western Conference tonight:

  • The Trail Blazers’ title hopes largely hinge on whether Zach Collins can properly adapt his game this season, Jack Winter of Basketball Insiders writes. Collins could be named the team’s starting power forward with Al-Farouq Aminu and Maurice Harkless no longer on the roster, making it imperative that he improves his game on the perimeter and continues to adapt entering his third NBA season.
  • Eric Gordon will have four seasons’ worth of chances to guarantee the $20MM+ in the final year of his extension with the Rockets, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets. Gordon’s extension also contains a minutes criteria that he will likely reach in order to guarantee the final season, which only happens if he makes the All-Star team or the Rockets win an NBA championship, Marks notes. Gordon has this season, the 2020/21 season, 2021/22, and 2022/23 to reach the criteria needed for the final year.
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7 thoughts on “Western Notes: Paul, Collins, Gordon

  1. Tazza

    Really like the Trail Blazers as a franchise but I don’t like the situation they left with having to start Collins at PF. I thought getting in Bazemore, Whiteside and Little were all good moves. Collins best role would be as a back up that plays PF and C and gets some decent minutes but I wouldn’t want to start him.

    Maybe they should make a trade, the team currently has Hood, Bazemore, Hezonja and Little who can all play SF maybe one goes. Bazemore for Gallinari would be a good start for talks maybe include Labiissierre, Trent Jr or some picks.
    Gallo would be an awesome third scoring option on this team. And would give you a head start in resigning him next year if you want to keep him.

  2. IslandFlava

    No way Gordon gets the guarantee on his last year, he will never ever make an all-star & Houston winning the finals in the next 4 years… hell, no. Even the Knicks have more a chance!!!

  3. Simple Fan

    Chris Paul to the Thunder & D’Angelo Russell were the two biggest steals in this year’s offseason. I don’t know what’s going on with GSW, but that’s one awesome acquisition; as for OKC, being one my favorite teams in the league, the addition of Chris Paul only = exhilarating hoops… It really energizes the league and to watch Paul/Adams is going to be an insane treat. CP3 vs. Steph Curry is going to be an insane treat. OKC players flying around D’Angelo Russell like flies is going to be a treat. The monster Known As Steven Adams dueling bigs such as Dwight Howard or Ivaca Zubac is going to be a treat. IMO this might be when OKC basketball really comes out to play & could be the return of Paul-Ball.

    Although it’s a super loaded Western Conference the Thunder might win a lot of surprise games then move up in the standings and push out teams who weren’t looking. OKC, SAS, PHX, & NOP are in the middle of the pack between the frontrunner teams and the other ones (Kings, Lakers, Mavericks, Wolves, Grizzlies). The Thunders’ dominance from over the years isn’t stopping

    To say that Zach Collins can’t impact the Trail Blazers as a starter is a lie. Julius Randle is a better, more expensive player, but Collins’ team is 200% more explosive than his. I mean, Zach is their new starting PF… who else is it going to be? It’s not the Pelicans’ back-ups Lonzo Ball and Jaxson Hayes. They’re better sixth persons, but aren’t in the same league(Collins would win the award).

    • x%sure

      Agree with the fun-to-watch aspects. ZCollins has a jump in PT coming up.

      I’m an SGA fan but I’m kind of glad he doesn’t have to lead the team yet. Work on nailing down his skillset instead while CP fusses. It could all work out quite well in a transition year sense.

    • Tazza

      Chris Paul isn’t a steal. He’s getting 40 mil secured for another 3 years, that’s stealing. But I do like a Paul and Adams duo. Adams will be closer to 17 points, 13 rebounds and 2 blocks. Expect to see lots of dunks.

      I don’t agree with your comments about OKC and the Suns being middle of the back above the Lakers, Wolves, Mavs and Kings. For me the West has 5 playoff locks Rockets, Blazers, Clippers, Nuggets and Jazz. After that you have Lakers, Pelicans, Spurs a little gap, the kings, Mavs, Wolves and OKC.

      I don’t understand why you mentioned Julius Randle. Randle plays for a team that’s not competing in the East. Randles a much better player who’s will take another step up this year. Collin is the Blazers only real option at PF

    • johnstodder

      Think you’re on to something. The Thunder is going to roll out a starting 5 every night that can compete with anyone, and they will overperform expectations. CP3 is in a great situation now. He has no internal adversary now, no one to fight for the ball with. SGA is going to be great, but he can take this year to learn. The other members of the team don’t threaten Paul’s domain but complement it. We’re going to see a rejuvenated, happier CP3, and he’s going to beat a lot of teams.

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