Potential trade targets with CAA connections: Chris Paul
From the moment Leon Rose was unofficially announced as the Knicks new President of Basketball Operations, the second most discussed high-profile CAA acquisition was Chris Paul.
Acquiring the ten-time All Star could finally satisfy a decade long dream of pairing him in New York alongside his friend Carmelo Anthony. It would satisfy a prophecy made around 10 years ago at Anthony’s wedding. While Melo’s return is speculation at this point, it would be a good feeling in New York to acquire their best point guard since the 1980s.
CP3 had a resurgence with the Oklahoma City Thunder this season. He’s surprisingly led a young group of Thunder players to the playoffs. At 40-24, the Thunder stand 5th in the Western Conference and may cause ruckus in the playoffs. Unlike previous seasons, Paul has only missed one game so far this season and was selected to the NBA All Star Game for the first time since the 2015-16 season.
The first question is whether the Thunder have any interest in dealing the future Hall-of-Famer. Paul’s been their most valuable player and losing him would significantly hurt their chances of playoff contention going forward. At the same time, Paul’s presence exponentially accelerated the development of every young player on the team, including Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. The Thunder may want to contend for the 2020-21 season as long as both Paul and Steven Adams are under contract.
Due to the Russell Westbrook & Paul George trades, the Thunder have a drove of draft capital going forward. If they feel Paul isn’t needed, and would like to extend Danilo Gallinari, the Knicks can try to create a package to acquire him.
However, due to Paul’s $41.3 million salary during the 2020-21 season and upcoming player option of $44.2 million in the following season, the Knicks would need to expend most of their cap space to absorb his contract or figure out a way to piece together players next season to make the salaries work.
At the age of 35, Paul’s health always remains in limbo. Committing $80 million for Chris Paul over two injury-prone seasons isn’t very enticing either. Additionally, acquiring Paul takes the Knicks out of the hunt for free agents in 2020 that can come at more attractive price points. However, his veteran experience will go a long way in hoping that RJ Barrett, Mitchell Robinson, Frank Ntilikina, and the rest of the Knicks foundation become long-term NBA players.