The most beloved player in Oklahoma City Thunder history saw his tenure with the team come to an end on Thursday night. Oklahoma City, amid its hectic offseason that already saw Paul George get sent to the Clippers, flipped Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets, giving the former league MVP the chance to play alongside his friend, James Harden, and compete for a title.
In exchange, the Thunder built on their sizable war chest of assets, acquiring several first-round picks and potential pick swaps with the Rockets. As for a player, the headliner was Chris Paul, who is returning to the city where he played when the then-New Orleans Hornets had to temporarily relocate in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Immediately after the move was reported, basketball fans began to wonder what the future holds for Paul, who is starving for a title and does not fit into the Thunder’s apparent timetable for a rebuild. But according to Sam Amick of The Athletic, Oklahoma City now sees a path for the team to be good next year with Paul running the show.
Of course, this does not necessarily mean he’s certainly sticking around. Amick pointed out that Paul is not in a position to stay patient, while Ramona Shelburne of ESPN brought word that Thunder GM Sam Presti has already spoken to Paul’s camp.
Oklahoma City would be very solid next year if it kept this core all together, and Paul would be a great teacher for promising young guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, but with the team being in full-blown asset acquisition mode, keeping the future Hall of Fame guard around seems like a stretch.