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Chris Paul Trade Rumors: Execs Think 'Enormous Contract' Prevents Thunder Deal

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistDecember 13, 2019

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - DECEMBER 09:  Chris Paul #3 of the Oklahoma City Thunder looks on during a game against the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena on December 9, 2019 in Salt Lake City, Utah. 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.  (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

There is a "league-wide sense" that Oklahoma City Thunder star Chris Paul's "enormous contract" could prevent the team from finding a trade partner during the 2019-20 season, according to NBC Sports' Tom Haberstroh.

Paul is owed $79.7 million over the next two seasons and holds a $44.2 million player option for 2021-22.

Oklahoma City acquired Paul along with a pair of first-round picks and pick swaps from the Houston Rockets in exchange for Russell Westbrook in July. The deal came after the Thunder had sparked a rebuild by moving Paul George to the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for a haul of future draft picks.

Sam Amick of The Athletic reported at the time of the trade Paul's agent would meet with OKC general manager Sam Presti to discuss the veteran point guard's future. 

In September, Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported the Miami Heat had a "level of interest" in Paul, a feeling that was reciprocated by the nine-time All-Star. Oklahoma City and Miami were not able to reach an agreement on a deal, though.

As a result, Paul started the season in OKC.

The 34-year-old Paul is averaging 15.7 points on 44.9 percent shooting, including 35.9 percent from three-point range, and has added 6.1 assists and 1.6 steals per game. Though the Thunder were not expected to contend this season, they are tied for the seventh seed in the Western Conference at 11-13.

Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer reported that the Thunder's relatively good start will not affect the team's plans, and it will shop the likes of Paul, Steven Adams and Danilo Gallinari. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported in July OKC may try to attach a draft pick to Paul in order to entice a team.

The 2020 NBA trade deadline falls on Feb. 6.