Photo From Clutch Points
Only three days into trade season and we have already seen so much change, but one of the most prominent trades consist of the Oklahoma City Thunder exchanging all-star guard Chris Paul and forward Abdel Nader to receive Kelly Oubre Jr., Ricky Rubio, Ty Jerome, Jalen Lecque and a 2022 first-round pick from the Phoenix Suns. Considering Chris Paul turned OKC into a playoff team in one season, with all odds against them, I'm positive the Suns had something similar in mind while discussing this transaction. Now the main difference is that everyone is going to expect the Suns to make the postseason, thanks to Paul's leadership, effect, and the chemistry he held with OKC in a singular season. Right now the Suns are built around 24-year-old guard Devin Booker who claimed that he was, “done with not making the playoffs.” That didn't age so well. After he said that in the 2017-2018 season he continued to not make the playoffs in the next season after gaining a new coach, with a record of 19-63. Not pretty, right. The Suns didn't make a hard enough push in this most recent season also, but for Booker individually it was easily his best season. They finished 34-39 while surprising everyone with their undefeated record in the Orlando Bubble. Paul is going to bring a lot to this team, his accurate shooting, strength under pressure, and his ability to assemble the team with his unselfish manner. There is no doubt in my mind that he will be a big help to Booker offensively. He will also be a great help for the growth of Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson, and DeAndre Ayton. As good as this all sounds, there is a negative factor and that is the opportunity cost. Instead of losing a first-round pick, they could've gained one by completing a different trade, such as moving Oubre before the deadline. It seems to me as if Phoenix is more focused on the now rather than the future. The current Suns can be very exciting, and more fulfilling than it has been in a while, but that all falls on if Paul plays at the level he did for OKC and stays healthy. As for Paul's past, OKC has stacked up an insane amount of future picks by trading their stars. Paul immediately helped OKC’s young players, taking them to the playoffs which helped increase trade value in a major way. Oubre could be a key factor in OKC’s core, he's coming off one of his best seasons, he is a good defender as well as a scorer. But I would not be surprised if he is traded once again before the deadline to gain another first-round draft pick. As for Rubio, he can control the Thunder as he did the Suns, but I wouldn't say Rubio is in their long-term future considering that is exactly what they're maximizing. Even though OKC was the better team last season, this season it seems like they are a couple of steps behind the Suns, that doesn't seem like a problem for them because they aren't trying to win right now, they are focusing on their young men, and the long successful future they have. Do you think this was a good trade?