Chris Paul

Trade Notes: Bucks, Bogdanovic, Holiday, Kings, Pelicans

The deals to acquire both Jrue Holiday and Bogdan Bogdanovic took practically every asset the Bucks had left, but the team now projects to have one of the NBA’s best starting lineups, according to Eric Nehm of The Athletic, who notes that Milwaukee’s new additions will join Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, and Brook Lopez in the starting five.

As Nehm writes, the Bucks’ aggressive roster overhaul should eliminate any doubt that the franchise is serious about getting Antetokounmpo the help he needs to win a title. However, the acquisitions will leave the club hard-capped and with little flexibility to fill out the rest of the roster.

Because Holiday has a series of likely and unlikely bonuses that count toward the hard cap, the Bucks will probably be limited to minimum-salary contracts as they look to fill out their roster and keep team salary below $138,928,000, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks.

By my rough calculations, Milwaukee would have about $27.3MM in room below the hard cap to fit in Bogdanovic’s starting salary and minimum-salary contracts for seven players. That would get the Bucks to 14 players, not counting two-ways, though they could carry just 13 for parts of the season in order to create a little more cap flexibility.

Here’s more on the two deals the Bucks agreed to on Monday night:

  • While former Kings general manager Vlade Divac likely would’ve been willing to match offers in the $15-18MM range for Bogdanovic, it was never clear how enthusiastic new GM Monte McNair was about retaining the swingman, whose camp signaled a “willingness to play hardball” with Kings management, writes Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee.
  • The Pelicans‘ decision to move Holiday in a package that includes three first-round picks and a pair of pick swaps is the latest indication that the organization is prioritizing its long-term goals over shortcuts to contention, says Scott Kushner of Even with Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram on the brink of stardom, New Orleans is preaching patience and wants to build its roster through the draft, as Kushner explains.
  • The Pelicans could theoretically flip Eric Bledsoe or George Hill to another team immediately after acquiring them, but they won’t be able to aggregate either player for salary-matching purposes until December 8, tweets Marks. Typically, there’s a two-month gap before a player can be aggregated, but that has been adjusted to account for the shortened offseason. For instance, the Thunder will be able to aggregate the players they acquired for Chris Paul as early as December 5, Marks notes (via Twitter).
  • Speaking of Paul, the Bucks never engaged in any trade talks for the veteran point guard, according to Chris Mannix of (Twitter link).

All-Star Guard Chris Paul Traded To Suns

8:07pm: The trade is official, per a Suns press release.

12:11pm:  The Suns and Thunder are finalizing an agreement on a trade that will send All-Star point guard Chris Paul from Oklahoma City to Phoenix, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter).

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link), the Thunder will receive Ricky Rubio, Kelly Oubre, Ty Jerome, Jalen Lecque, and draft compensation in the deal. Wojnarowski adds that the Suns will also get Abdel Nader in the blockbuster swap (Twitter link).

The draft pick being sent from Phoenix to Oklahoma City in the trade is the Suns’ 2022 first-rounder, per Wojnarowski. Charania reports (via Twitter) that the pick will be top-12 protected. If it doesn’t change hands in 2022, it’ll be top-10 protected in 2023, top-eight protected in 2024, and unprotected in 2025.

The Suns, whose interest in Paul was first reported last week, are hoping that the veteran guard can help the team build upon its 8-0 showing during the Orlando restart and make the postseason in 2020/21. Paul, who will reunite with his former Pelicans coach Monty Williams, will join an intriguing core that includes star guard Devin Booker, former No. 1 overall pick Deandre Ayton, and promising young wings Cameron Johnson and Mikal Bridges.

While bigger-market teams (like the Knicks) and stronger contenders (including the Bucks) were cited in recent weeks as potential suitors for CP3, the 35-year-old won’t object to joining the Suns. The Thunder worked with Paul and his reps at CAA to get him to a preferred destination, per Woj (Twitter link). A report last week suggested that Phoenix’s proximity to Los Angeles appealed to Paul, who has a home in the L.A. area.

Phoenix will complete the trade without using the No. 10 pick in this year’s draft, so the club will have the opportunity on Wednesday to add another young prospect to that group. The Suns also have a couple different directions they could go in free agency.

Remaining over the cap and attempting to bring back Dario Saric and Aron Baynes is one option for the organization — the other would be to let those free agents go to open up cap room, then using up that space before officially finalizing the deal for CP3. In that scenario, Phoenix would only have the $4.8MM room exception left over, whereas if the team remains over the cap, the mid-level ($9.3MM) and bi-annual ($3.6MM) could be in play.

Meanwhile, the Thunder appear to be shifting into full-fledged rebuilding mode after outperforming expectations in 2019/20. They’ve now reached deals to move both Paul and Dennis Schröder. Steven Adams remains a trade candidate, as are the veterans Oklahoma City will receive in the two agreed-upon trades (Rubio, Oubre, and Danny Green).

Having acquired a pair of first-round picks and two future pick swaps in last year’s Paul/Russell Westbrook trade, the Thunder were able to parlay CP3’s strong season (17.6 PPG, 6.7 APG, 5.0 RPG) into yet another first-round selection. The franchise now owns three 2022 first-rounders and holds multiple first-round picks every year through 2026, as Tommy Beer of Forbes details (via Twitter).

By taking on Paul’s contract, the Suns will be on the hook for his $41.4MM salary in 2020/21 and his $44.2MM player option for ’21/22. Nader has a minimum salary for ’20/21 which will remain non-guaranteed even after his team option is exercised to complete this trade.

As for the Thunder, they’ll take on Oubre’s expiring $14.4MM salary and will be on the hook for $34.8MM over two years for Rubio. Jerome, who has a $2.3MM cap charge in 2020/21, is in the second year of a rookie scale contract, while Lecque has a guaranteed $1.5MM salary for ’20/21 and a non-guaranteed $1.8MM for ’21/22.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Trade Rumors: Westbrook, Hornets, Holiday, Gordon

The first major domino of the NBA offseason has fallen, as the Thunder and Suns are set to finalize a deal that will send All-Star guard Chris Paul to Phoenix.

Kelly Oubre is one of the key pieces headed to Oklahoma City in that swap, and according to John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7FM (Twitter link), the Suns felt as if Oubre was expendable not only due to the emergence of Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson, but because they didn’t think they’d end up re-signing Oubre in free agency in 2021.

Meanwhile, while Paul is on board with being dealt to the Suns, Marc Berman of The New York Post hears that CP3’s top preference would have been a move to the Clippers. The veteran point guard had “mixed feelings” about a possible deal to the Knicks, Berman adds.

As we wait for more trade agreements to be reached, here are a few of the latest rumors from around the NBA:

  • The Hornets appear to be the most likely landing spot for Russell Westbrook, according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, who writes that team owner Michael Jordan wants to acquire the former MVP. However, sources tell O’Connor that Charlotte won’t put the No. 3 overall pick on the table in an offer to the Rockets.
  • The Mavericks aren’t involved in the Jrue Holiday sweepstakes for now, according to Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News, who tweets that the Pelicans prefer to trade Holiday to an Eastern Conference team. Mike Singer of The Denver Post notes (via Twitter) that New Orleans’ apparent desire to send Holiday to the East might be posturing to try to drive up the price for a team like the Nuggets.
  • Asked today about trade rumors involving Aaron Gordon, Magic president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman confirmed there have been “a lot of calls” on the forward (Twitter link via Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel). However, he added that there’s an “amazing amount of misinformation that circulates and is unfounded.” A report last week suggested Orlando was trying to move up in the draft from No. 15 by attaching Gordon to the pick.
  • In case you missed it, James Harden is rumored to be seeking a trade out of Houston.

Knicks Notes: Paul, Westbrook, Bey, Terry

There are people within the Knicks organization that are bullish on the idea of acquiring Chris Paul, feeling as if he would help build a winning culture in New York and would be a good leader for the team’s young players, writes Ian Begley of

However, according to Begley, there are also people in the organization wary of giving up too many assets in a trade for Paul. Those people want to make sure the club retains enough pieces to be able to make another trade down the road for a star player, sources tell Begley.

Given Paul’s massive contract, which still has two years and $85MM left on it, the Thunder are unlikely to extract a massive haul for their point guard. However, an All-Star season helped rebuild CP3’s value, and the Knicks would have to outbid other suitors, including the Suns, if they want to make a deal.

It’s probably safe to assume that Oklahoma City would seek at least one first-round pick and/or a young player in exchange for CP3 — Mitchell Robinson or RJ Barrett would likely be off limits, but the Thunder reportedly have interest in Kevin Knox.

In addition to all their own future first-round pick, the Knicks hold the Clippers’ pick (No. 27) in this year’s draft, as well as two future Mavericks first-rounders.

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • Within that same story, Begley considers whether the Knicks would be a fit for Russell Westbrook. As Begley observes, if the front office is wary of giving up too many assets in a Paul trade, it’s probably safe to assume that same stance would apply to a Westbrook deal. Like CP3, Westbrook is owed $41MM in 2020/21 and $44MM in ’21/22. The Rockets guard also has a $47MM player option for ’22/23.
  • Exploring the Knicks’ draft options, Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic says that Villanova forward Saddiq Bey is among the players who have worked out for New York during the pre-draft process. The No. 8 pick might be a little high for Bey, who would be a more viable option for the Knicks in a trade-down scenario.
  • The Knicks have reached out to schedule a second interview with Stanford’s Tyrell Terry, tweets Vorkunov. It’s possible Terry will still be on the board at No. 27, though his stock has been on the rise and he has generated mid-first-round buzz.

O’Connor’s Latest: Bucks, Mavs, LaVine, Gordon, More

The Bucks are active in trade discussions and have offered point guard Eric Bledsoe to multiple teams, league sources tell Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. As the Bucks look to upgrade their roster around reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and standout forward Khris Middleton, it sounds like they’re focusing on two-way forwards with defensive versatility — according to O’Connor, the club is pursuing Rockets veterans Robert Covington and P.J. Tucker.

O’Connor’s latest mock draft at The Ringer includes plenty of interesting tidbits, including a couple we’ve already passed along. Here are a few more highlights:

  • Multiple teams, including the Mavericks, have contacted the Bulls this offseason to inquire on Zach LaVine‘s availability, says O’Connor. It’s not clear if Chicago would have any interest in moving its leading scorer.
  • League sources tell The Ringer that the Magic have made efforts to move up into the lottery by attaching Aaron Gordon to their No. 15 selection.
  • O’Connor writes that the Suns are “hoping” to use their No. 10 pick in a trade for Chris Paul. That would seemingly contradict an earlier report that suggested Phoenix probably wouldn’t that pick in an offer for the Thunder point guard.
  • Executives around the NBA are fairly confident that Deni Avdija won’t fall past Cleveland at No. 5, according to O’Connor, who is the latest to report that the Cavaliers are high on the Israeli wing.
  • There has been increasing buzz surrounding Serbian forward Aleksej Pokusevski, with execs around the league increasingly believing that he’ll be a lottery pick, per O’Connor.
  • Oregon guard Payton Pritchard is receiving interest from multiple teams near the end of the first round, sources tell O’Connor. One of those sources thinks Pritchard may even have a promise.

Latest On Chris Paul/Suns Rumors

After co-authoring a Tuesday report revealing that the Suns and Thunder have discussed a potential Chris Paul trade, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst appeared on The Drive with Jody Oehler on FOX Sports 910 Phoenix on Wednesday morning to go into more detail on the possibility of a CP3 deal between the two Western clubs.

According to Windhorst, the Thunder have given Paul permission to talk to the Suns, which suggests that Oklahoma City is unlikely to complete a trade with Phoenix unless the veteran point guard is comfortable with it. And Windhorst does believe that CP3 has interest in becoming a Sun, pointing out that Phoenix’s proximity to Los Angeles – where Paul has a home – helps give the team a leg up.

Pressed to place odds on the two teams finalizing a trade, Windhorst told Oehler that he thinks the Suns and Thunder have better than a “50-50” chance to work something out.

Here’s more on the rumors connecting Paul to the Suns:

  • John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 (Twitter link) wouldn’t expect the Suns to include the No. 10 pick in any offer for Paul. He adds that Phoenix may have to take advantage of its cap flexibility to complete a deal, noting that Frank Kaminsky and Aron Baynes aren’t expected to return to the team, which will free up some space (Twitter link).
  • Gambadoro has also heard that the Thunder don’t want to take back any multiyear contracts, which would make a trade difficult, since Ricky Rubio almost certainly has to be included for salary-matching purposes (Twitter link). Oklahoma City doesn’t have real interest in Rubio – who has two years and $34.8MM left on his deal – or Kelly Oubre, per Gambadoro. That doesn’t mean a deal is impossible, but it means the Thunder and Suns could be motivated to try to get a third team involved.
  • Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic weighs the pros and cons of acquiring Paul from the Suns’ perspective.

Northwest Notes: Edwards, Okoro, Thunder Crowds

Georgia guard Anthony Edwards wants the Timberwolves to draft him with top pick, he told Marc Spears of The Undefeated (Twitter link). He’s unconcerned about dealing with Minnesota’s winters. “I’m not going to play basketball in the snow. So, I’m not worried about it,” he said. Edwards has long been considered a possible No. 1 selection, though a recent report indicated he could slip a bit due to an unspectacular Pro Day and questions regarding his background.

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • The Timberwolves, who own the top pick, attended Isaac Okoro‘s workout last week, according to Alder Almo of Empire Sports Media. The freshman Auburn wing is currently ranked No. 7 by ESPN but he could be a Minnesota target if the team trades down. Okoro’s strengths include his defense and rebounding.
  • There’s speculation that the Thunder might have some interest in trading for the No. 1 pick in order to land LaMelo Ball. That would require Oklahoma City to give up quite a few assets, Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman notes. Mussatto believes a package for the top pick might include Chris Paul, Hamidou Diallo, the pick OKC owns at No. 25, a 2021 first-round pick and a 2024 first-rounder. The Timberwolves would throw in James Johnson to make the salaries work. However, the Suns appear to be even bigger players for Paul.
  • The Thunder have announced reduced seating capacity for home games due to the coronavirus pandemic, Mussatto tweets. The amount of fans allowed into the building is still to be determined but measures include the wearing of masks and a seating distance of six feet between groups of guests. There will also be strict hygiene and disinfecting procedures throughout the building.

Suns Pondering Trade For Chris Paul

The Suns have had discussions about acquiring Chris Paul from the Thunder, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and Tim Bontemps.

Talks between the parties have gained traction but there is no deal imminent, according to the ESPN duo. A moratorium on trades remains in place until next week.

Phoenix’s interest in the 35-year-old point guard is somewhat surprising, considering it already has a veteran point guard in Ricky Rubio playing alongside franchise player Devin Booker. Rubio has two years and $34.8MM remaining on his contract.

Phoenix’s interest in Paul shows how badly it wants to end its long playoff drought. The Suns have gone 10 seasons without reaching the postseason.

Paul has a $41.4MM salary on the books for next season with a $44.2MM player option for the 2021/22 campaign. As ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets, Phoenix would have to cobble together at least $33.05MM in outgoing salary – if acting as an over-the-cap team – to make a trade happen. Rubio’s contract, plus Kelly Oubre‘s $14.4MM expiring contract, would put the Suns close to that figure.

In terms of 2020 draft capital, the Suns own the No. 10 overall selection while the Thunder sit at No. 25.

The Thunder front office has given star players input on possible trade destinations in the past and presumably are extending Paul the same courtesy. Paul played the 2010/11 season under Suns coach Monty Williams in New Orleans.

Depending on the structure of a trade, the Suns could still have significant cap space — somewhere in the $20MM range — to pursue free agents.

Atlantic Notes: Paul, Fizdale, Knicks, Raptors

Former Knicks coach David Fizdale believes the team wouldn’t be a good fit for Chris Paul in a potential trade, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes.

Fizdale, who coached the team for 104 games over two seasons, argued the fit would be better for the Knicks than it would be for Paul — especially with Paul still being without a championship entering his 16th NBA season.

“I think the Knicks have to be open to a lot of different things,’’ Fizdale said. “Would he be a great fit for them? Absolutely. I think he would fit those kids — Mitchell Robinson going to the rim, they get more spacing, more shooting. Absolutely, he would fit. The big stage. He doesn’t get sick [with COVID-19].”

“[But] for him, where he is at his career, I don’t think it’s a good fit for him and what he’s trying to do.’’

Paul is coming off his first All-Star season since the 2015/16 campaign, averaging 17.6 points, 6.7 assists and 31.5 minutes per game with the Thunder. For the Knicks, the team must decide between pursuing a star player and continuing to slowly build their young core — a decision that’ll be made by general manager Scott Perry and president Leon Rose.

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News examines how the Knicks could improve their roster before next season, listing four ideas for potential trades. New York accrued just a 21-45 record last year (fourth-worst in the Eastern Conference).
  • The Raptors have a number of questions to answer this offseason, including where the team will play during the 2020/21 season, Damien Cox of The Toronto Star writes. Toronto also has a number of key players set to reach free agency later this month, including Fred VanVleet and Serge Ibaka.
  • Raptors officials visited Nashville, Tennessee last week to investigate another potential home for the team next season, Adam Vingan of The Athletic writes. With Canada closing the border except for essential travel, Toronto likely needs to find a temporary arena located in the United States for most or all of the upcoming campaign. Kansas City, Missouri and Tampa Bay, Florida are also in the running to host the team, Vingan relays. Despite conducting due-diligence, the club is reportedly holding out hope that it will be able to play in Toronto next season.

Bucks Rumors: Giannis, Bogdanovic, Barnes, Oladipo

Many people within the Bucks organization remain confident that Giannis Antetokounmpo will sign the five-year, super-max extension the team is prepared to offer him once the NBA’s new league year begins, writes Zach Lowe of ESPN.

As Lowe writes, the Bucks’ plan if Antetokounmpo doesn’t sign that extension before the start of the 2020/21 season hasn’t changed — the team still has no intention of trading him and is prepared to play out the year with or without a long-term deal in place.

Here’s more on the Bucks from Lowe’s super-sized offseason preview at

  • Confirming an October report that suggested the Bucks will pursue Bogdan Bogdanovic, Lowe says Milwaukee “loves” the Kings‘ restricted free agent swingman. According to Lowe, the Bucks have explored some sign-and-trade ideas involving Bogdanovic that would also see them take on Sacramento forward Harrison Barnes. However, it’s unclear if they’ve engaged in the Kings in any real trade talks or if those discussions have been mostly internal and/or exploratory.
  • The Bucks are keeping an eye on Pacers guard Victor Oladipo, but no substantive talks have taken place yet between Milwaukee and Indiana, sources tell ESPN. Many of the teams monitoring Oladipo would like to see him in action again before engaging with the Pacers, Lowe adds.
  • There has been no traction – and possibly no talks – on a potential Chris Paul trade between the Thunder and Bucks, multiple sources tell Lowe. A previous report indicated that Milwaukee was unlikely to pursue the All-Star point guard.