Chris Paul Trade Rumors: Some with Knicks Think PG Could Build Winning Culture

Megan ArmstrongSenior Analyst IIApril 30, 2020

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - MARCH 08: Chris Paul #3 of the Oklahoma City Thunder reacts during the third quarter of the game against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden on March 08, 2020 in Boston, Massachusetts. 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 Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)
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Chris Paul was spearheading an unlikely Oklahoma City Thunder playoff run before the NBA suspended its 2019-20 season because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

According to SNY's Ian Begley, unnamed members of the New York Knicks organization believe the 10-time All-Star point guard could have a similar effect on them:

Knicks Videos @sny_knicks

There are still people within the Knicks organization that feel trading for Chris Paul could help jump-start their effort to build a winning culture. (@IanBegley) https://t.co/U4snj0lShe

"I think there are still people with the Knicks who feel that bringing Chris Paul onto this roster at this time would jumpstart the franchise's effort to build a winning culture, to give these young players winning habits," Begley said, also noting that New York's new team president Leon Rose is Paul's former agent.

The Knicks hired Rose on March 2, which sparked initial rumors that the team might target Paul on the trade market:

Frank Isola @TheFrankIsola

The Knicks, according to NBA sources, have been gathering intel on All Star Chris Paul and could make a run at him this summer. Paul, 34, carries a huge contract but he’s had a resurgent season in OKC & is proven leader. (He was also once represented by...Leon Rose.)

Frank Isola @TheFrankIsola

Chris Paul’s age and contract are concerns. But look at what he’s done for Oklahoma City. He impacts winning on every team he plays for. The Knicks desperately need his leadership and toughness. (He also works the refs non-stop.)

"Last spring, then-agent Leon Rose was intrigued by the notion of the Rockets offering up his client Chris Paul to the Knicks, according to a league source," Marc Berman of the New York Post also reported on March 5.

Paul was traded from the Houston Rockets to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for Russell Westbrook last June:

Shams Charania @ShamsCharania

Sources: Pick protections in Thunder/Rockets, Russell Westbrook/Chris Paul trade: 2024 first round pick, protected 1-4 2026 first round pick, protected 1-4 2025 swap, 1-20 protected 2021 swap, protected 1-4 -- OKC can swap Clippers pick or Heat pick.

Westbrook's departure was preceded by Paul George's trade to the Los Angeles Clippers, which was thought to signal the Thunder entering full rebuild mode. However, Paul has been excelled in his first season with Oklahoma City. The 34-year-old's presence has also pulled the best out of 21-year-old guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and 26-year-old guard Dennis Schroder.

Paul was averaging 17.7 points and a team-high 6.8 assists across 63 starts while also providing unparalleled clutch fourth-quarter performances:

StatMuse @statmuse

OKC's three-guard lineup of Chris Paul, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Dennis Schroder ranks 2nd in three-man lineups this season (min. 150 minutes played). They're outscoring their opponents by 26.3 points per 100 possessions. https://t.co/IxI29JdcZZ

StatMuse @statmuse

Chris Paul month-by-month this season in one emoji: 📈 October 14.8 PPG 43.4 FG% November 16.0 PPG 45.1 FG% December 17.7 PPG 49.0 FG% January 18.3 PPG 49.3 FG% February 21.7 PPG 57.3 FG% https://t.co/gcdTJYhyMa

The Thunder were 40-24 and occupying fifth place in the Western Conference.

Contrastingly, the Knicks have followed up their league-worst 17-65 2018-19 with a 21-45 record this season. New York has 19-year-old guard RJ Barrett, 20-year-old forward Kevin Knox II, 21-year-old Frank Ntilikina, 22-year-old center Mitchell Robinson and 25-year-old center/forward Julius Randle at its core.

The Knicks last made the playoffs in 2013.