Unexpected West team could get in way of Sixers’ CP3 pursuit originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
The NBA’s 2019-20 season ended less than a month ago, but the accelerated offseason has us just nine days away from free agency … and things are about to get wild.
The free agency rumor mill kicked off with a bang when ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported Tuesday that an unexpected team is considering making a move for Chris Paul, who figures to be a hot commodity among contenders, including the Sixers:
The … Phoenix Suns?
The Phoenix Suns have had discussions about acquiring Chris Paul from the OKC Thunder, sources tell me & @TimBontemps. Story forthcoming.
— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) November 11, 2020
The Suns aren’t exactly seen as a rising Western Conference contender, despite their excellent Bubble performance, so making what feels like a win-now move for a 35-year-old point guard would be sort of curious.
Still, for the Sixers, adding more teams to the battle for a potential Paul trade is less than ideal, if only because it could drive up Oklahoma City’s asking price.
Back in September, The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor reported the Sixers’ front office had “seriously debated” the idea of chasing Paul this offseason as they try to reconfigure their oddly-constructed roster. The front office, of course, has changed significantly since September with the hires of Daryl Morey and Doc Rivers, so whether a Paul pursuit is still on the table is unclear.
What kind of return will a player like Paul — a 35-year-old point guard who is past his prime but is still an efficient, productive starter — fetch?
NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Noah Levick examined just how realistic the Sixers trading for Paul would be, and what it could cost:
“The 35-year-old Paul, who averaged 17.6 points, 6.7 assists and 5.0 rebounds after being dealt to the Thunder, has a $38.51 million salary this season and is set to make $41.36 million next year. He then has a $44.21 million player option the following season. Just by virtue of his contract, any Sixers trade for him will likely include an expensive player and an additional piece or two.
“For the Sixers, a combination of Al Horford and some extra assets — Mike Scott, Zhaire Smith and a draft pick or two, as a hypothetical — might get the job done.”
What exactly Morey has in mind for this Sixers team before the season begins Dec. 22 remains to be seen. A Chris Paul deal would certainly be one way to announce himself.