Chris Paul Trade Rumors: Hornets 'Don't Want' Thunder PG's Contract

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJuly 15, 2019

Houston Rockets guard Chris Paul (3) reacts after he was hit on the face during the second half in Game 6 of the team's second-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Golden State Warriors, Friday, May 10, 2019, in Houston. Golden State won 118-113, winning the series. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Eric Gay/Associated Press

Scratch the Charlotte Hornets off the list of potential Chris Paul suitors.

Rick Bonnell of the Observer reported the team does not have interest in trading for Paul due to his massive contract.

Paul, who was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder last week in the Houston Rockets' blockbuster for Russell Westbrook, has three years and $124.1 million remaining on his current deal.

The 34-year-old remains an effective player, but he is coming off a career-worst shooting season and has missed 20-plus games each of the last three years.

The Hornets' fit makes no sense on either side. Charlotte will enter 2019-20 with one of the NBA's most moribund rosters, as good a bet to finish with the league's worst record as any. Kemba Walker's departure to Boston this offseason will only further highlight the failure of Michael Jordan and Co. to build a proper supporting cast, and inking Terry Rozier to a long-term contract will not do much to engender confidence.

Paul, meanwhile, is at a point in his career where he wants to compete for championships. That won't be happening as part of a rebuilding Oklahoma City roster, nor would it in Charlotte. The Thunder are likely to play a patient game with the future Hall of Famer, keeping lines of communication open while also trying to extract some level of future value in a trade.

The Thunder and Paul could also go the route of a buyout, which would undoubtedly be the largest in NBA history. That would require Paul to give up probably somewhere in the neighborhood of $20-plus million in guaranteed salary, likely in the hopes he'd recoup that money in free-agent contracts. It would also require the Thunder to be willing to fork over an exorbitant sum without getting any value in return—seemingly unlikely for a small-market club.

All of this has the makings of an awkward situation. Paul doesn't want to be with OKC. The Thunder don't necessarily want him to play for their rebuilding franchise, especially with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander tabbed as their point guard of the future. No teams seem enthralled with the idea of paying an aging Paul $40 million per season.

This appears to be heading toward a strange ending for one of the NBA's greatest point guards.


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