A connection with new Knicks president of basketball operations Leon Rose may put Chris Paul on the team’s radar this offseason, according to a pair of reports.
Frank Isola of SiriusXM NBA Radio (Twitter link) cited sources who say that the Knicks have been “gathering intel” on Paul and may pursue him in the offseason. Meanwhile, Marc Berman of The New York Post writes that the All-Star point guard “adores” Rose, who was previously CP3’s agent.
After acquiring Paul from the Rockets last summer – along with multiple first-round picks – in a deal that sent Russell Westbrook to Houston, the Thunder reportedly explored flipping the veteran to another team. However, he was considered a negative trade asset at that time, due to the three years and $124MM left on his contract.
Oklahoma City opted to hang onto Paul and he has been impressive in his first season with the Thunder, staying healthy all year, earning a spot in the All-Star Game for the first time since 2016, and leading the club to a 38-24 record so far. That doesn’t mean that his contract – which still has two years and nearly $86MM left on it after this season – won’t still be considered onerous, but CP3 should have more value this offseason if the Thunder want to put him back on the trade block.
Paul wouldn’t exactly be a perfect fit for the rebuilding Knicks, considering he’ll turn 35 years old this spring. Acquiring him would also compromise the team’s cap flexibility for the summer of 2021, which is expected to feature a significantly stronger free agent class than 2020.
Still, the Knicks didn’t have much luck recruiting star free agents in 2019, so if they don’t use their cap room to acquire a player like Paul, they may simply end up spending it on lesser free agents again, or perhaps absorbing unwanted contracts. Attempting to fill their point guard hole by swinging a deal for an All-Star like CP3 could be a reasonable alternative — especially since it might not take a significant package to land him, if OKC wants to move off his contract and move forward with its rebuild.