Chris Paul Trade Rumors: Heat Not Expecting Trade with Thunder to Materialize

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistSeptember 25, 2019

HOUSTON, TX - MAY 10: Chris Paul #3 of the Houston Rockets is interviewed after a game against the Golden State Warriors after Game Six of the Western Conference Semifinals of the 2019 NBA Playoffs on May 10, 2019 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. 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 Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)
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The Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder are reportedly at an impasse on how they view a potential Chris Paul trade, leading to skepticism about whether they will be able to complete a deal.

Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reported the Thunder view Paul as an asset and want compensation for him in a potential deal. On the other hand, the Heat view themselves as doing the Thunder a "favor" by taking on the three years and $124.1 million remaining on Paul's contract and believe they "should be compensated" accordingly.

Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported the Heat remain interested in Paul but are not expected to make a move before the start of the regular season. Paul also has interest in coming to the Heat, who acquired Jimmy Butler over the summer in a sign-and-trade from the Philadelphia 76ers.

Miami would be required to find matching salaries on its roster for Paul, who makes $38.5 million this season. They're one of the few teams with enough nonessential salary-matching pieces to make such a deal happen, though. Goran Dragic (and his expiring contract) would likely be included in a trade package, while veterans such as Kelly Olynyk, James Johnson, Justise Winslow and Meyers Leonard could also be involved.

The Thunder have little long-term use for Paul, a veteran who wants to compete for a championship. Trading Russell Westbrook and Paul George over the summer signaled a sweeping change for Oklahoma City, which is headed for a rebuild centered around young talent. Paul is 34, on a max contract and coming off a season that seemingly signaled his decline.

However, the Thunder could use the first few months of the season to put Paul on the floor and have him recoup some value around the league. The trade market will be tepid until at least Dec. 15, which is when players who signed contracts over the summer can be traded.

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That could open up the pool of suitors beyond Miami and perhaps create more urgency for the Heat to get a deal done.