Chris Paul Trade Rumors: Heat Still Interested in Thunder PG Entering Season

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistSeptember 23, 2019

CHARLOTTE, NC - JULY 18: Chris Paul of the Oklahoma City Thunder attends the State Farm Assist Tracker Event on July 18, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina at McClintock Middle. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Brock Williams-Smith/NBAE via Getty Images)
Brock Williams-Smith/Getty Images

The Miami Heat reportedly maintain an interest in trading for Chris Paul but are unlikely to make a move until they see how their roster fares in the 2019-20 regular season.

Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported the news, noting that Paul has a mutual interest in Miami. The Heat would have to find the right level of matching salaries to acquire Paul, who will make $38.5 million this season.

The Oklahoma City Thunder and Paul appear to be resigned to open the season in what amounts to an NBA arranged marriage after the point guard came over in a trade that sent Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets.

OKC seems to have no long-term plans to push for a championship in CP3's dimming twilight, and Paul undoubtedly views his time with the Thunder as a stopgap before joining a team with playoff/title aspirations.

How the two sides ultimately divorce remains to be seen. The best bet is that all parties will wait until at least Dec. 15, the first day players who signed contracts this summer can be traded. That opens up far more salary-matching opportunities in a potential deal, along with adding suitors beyond Miami.

It's also possible that Paul will have to play the entire 2019-20 season with the Thunder, proving his value and health before finding a more viable landing spot next summer. The potential for a buyout, which is yet to be broached, is more palatable with two years remaining on his contract (2021-22 player option).

The Heat made their intentions known this offseason by acquiring Jimmy Butler. Whereas Miami's capped-out roster and lack of elite young talent made it seem like a prime candidate for a rebuild, team president Pat Riley instead decided to retool around Butler by handing him a max contract.

A Paul-Butler combo isn't what it would have been three seasons ago, but it's still enough to garner top-four seeding consideration in a weak East. 

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