The Phoenix Suns have had discussions about inquiring Chris Paul from the Oklahoma City Thunder, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and Tim Bontemps.
Talks have been “ongoing and have continued to gather traction, but there is no deal imminent,” sources told Adrian Wojnarowski.
A transaction moratorium remains in place, but it is expected to be lifted two or three days before the Nov. 18 NBA draft.
The Suns currently have Ricky Rubio as their starting point guard, so the team’s interest in Paul is somewhat surprising.
If the two sides were to reach a deal, it’s possible that Rubio could be dealt in the trade.
The 30-year-old has two years and $34.8 million left on his contract.
The Suns’ interest in Paul shows how much they want to end their playoff drought, a streak that is now at 10 seasons.
The Thunder have been known to give star players (Paul George and Russell Westbrook) input on trade destinations in the past and “have shown a willingness to work with Paul on a trade now,” according to Wojnarowski.
Paul has a $41.4 million salary for next season with a $44.2 million player option for the 2021-2022 NBA season.
In order to make a trade happen, the Suns would need to put together at least $33.05 million in outgoing salary, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks.
Rubio’s contract plus Kelly Oubre’s $14.4 million expiring contract would put them close to that number.
The Suns, who have a promising young core of players that features Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton and Mikal Bridges, went 8-0 in the NBA restart, barely missing the Western Conference play-in games.
In addition to their young roster, the team is also set to open a state-of-the-art, $45 million practice facility, along with $230 million renovations to the Talking Stick Resort Arena where they play their home games.
Paul played one season under current Suns head coach Monty Williams in New Orleans from 2010-2011 and previously spoke highly of Williams.
“His basketball mind … I used to get so excited before the games about the plays he was drawing up,” Paul told reporters before facing the Suns in December.
This past season, Paul, 35, averaged 17.6 points, 5.0 rebounds and 6.7 assists per game and led the “overachieving” Thunder to a narrow Game 7 loss to the Houston Rockets in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs.