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Monday, July 22, 2019

Chris Paul

James Harden denies rift with Chris Paul

James Harden

The James Harden and Chris Paul partnership may be over, but Harden still wanted to set the record straight about their relationship.

Harden said Saturday that talk was a “rift” and that he has “nothing negative to say” about Paul after he was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Despite Harden’s comments, it’s pretty clear he and Paul didn’t always completely see eye-to-eye. This had been pushed aside by Houston as normal behavior between two stars, but Harden probably doesn’t mind the fact that he’ll instead be playing alongside Russell Westbrook next season.

Report: Chris Paul likely to start season with Thunder

Chris Paul Rockets

Chris Paul’s contract will likely ensure that he starts the season with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said on Wednesday’s edition of The Jump that there is little momentum towards a trade right now, and Paul is likely to open the regular season with Oklahoma City.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski essentially said the same thing on Twitter, adding that both Paul and the Thunder believe a year together could prove beneficial.

Things have been trending this way for a while. As it stands, Paul’s remaining contract is not of interest to any teams, and the Thunder simply aren’t going to kick in a draft pick to get rid of him. It may not be anyone’s ideal scenario, but it’s simply the way things are going to be for a while.

Report: ‘No appetite’ among teams to take on final year of Chris Paul deal

Chris Paul Rockets

The Oklahoma City Thunder are having a very hard time finding anyone to take Chris Paul’s contract off their hands.

According to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders, based on conversations with NBA general manager, there is “almost no appetite” around the league to touch Paul’s contract, particularly the $44 million player option in 2021-22. Paul will be 37 years old by the time that deal expires.

The Thunder are running into the same problem the Houston Rockets had: Paul’s contract is nearly untradeable unless the pot is sweetened with extra picks. That runs counter to what Oklahoma City is trying to do, which is stockpile future first-round selections in order to strengthen their rebuild. Ultimately, they’re reportedly open to keeping the point guard, largely because, at this point, they may have no other choice.

Details of Chris Paul-James Harden playoff argument revealed

James harden

James Harden and Chris Paul clearly did not get along well last season with the Houston Rockets, and the issues may have come to a boil after they lost their playoff series to the Golden State Warriors this year. Numerous reports claimed the two superstars had an argument in the locker room after the Rockets were eliminated, but the bickering apparently started on the court.

In a recent episode of his “Brian Windhorst & The Hoop Collective” podcast, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst revealed some of what it was that Harden and Paul said to one another during that Golden State series. One exchange had to do with what Windhorst described as a “schematic thing” and an issue with spacing, and Harden wanted none of Paul shouting orders at him.

“Chris barked at James, and James turned to him — this was described to me by a player who was on the court — and he said, ‘With you it’s always f—ing something,'” Windhorst revealed.

As Windhorst noted, both Harden and Paul have had issues with teammates in the past. Still, that particular comment sure seems to indicate Harden had grown tired of playing with CP3, and that is likely why he helped nudge the Rockets in the direction of acquiring Russell Westbrook.

We’ve already heard of several reasons why Harden and Paul clashed, and it’s clear the issues were real even if the Rockets tried to downplay them. We highly doubt the two All-Stars will miss one another.

Report: Thunder open to keeping Chris Paul

Chris Paul Rockets

While Chris Paul has been frequently linked with a move away from Oklahoma City, there are also indications that the Thunder would be comfortable keeping the newly-acquired guard.

According to Ken Berger of Bleacher Report, the Thunder would have no problem keeping Paul on board if they can’t find a trade partner and Paul is willing to stay. While his deal is bloated with three years and $124 million remaining, that is still a year less than Russell Westbrook had left.

Paul’s willingness to stay remains somewhat of a question. The 34-year-old has never even played in the NBA Finals, and is running out oftime to find that elusive championship. The reality is that Paul just doesn’t have a ton of potential takers thanks to his contract unless Oklahoma City is willing to sweeten the pot by adding assets, and he may have to settle for playing on a non-contending Thunder team for at least one season.

Miami Heat not actively pursuing Chris Paul trade

Chris Paul Rockets

The Miami Heat have been mentioned as a potential trade destination for Chris Paul, but that reportedly has more to do with the Thunder’s desire to unload him rather than Miami’s interest in acquiring him.

The Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson reported on Saturday that Oklahoma City has not offered anything that would seriously interest Miami.

Paul is owed $124 million over the next three seasons. His contract is viewed by many as among the least desirable in the league. The Thunder could attach future draft picks to get someone to take on his contract, but that would defeat the purpose of trading Russell Westbrook to Houston for future picks.

The most likely scenario for both sides might be agreeing to a significant buyout that would allow Paul to move on. Such a deal would spare the Thunder from trading future draft picks while also potentially saving them a little money off the $124 million CP3 is guaranteed.

Jackson reported on Friday that the Heat would need to be overwhelmed by a trade offer from the Thunder to take Paul.

Report: Heat would need to be ‘overwhelmed’ to take Chris Paul contract

Chris Paul Rockets

The Miami Heat have frequently been linked as a possibility to take Chris Paul’s contract off Oklahoma City’s hands, but new reporting indicates that possibility is remote.

According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, the Heat will do “due diligence” on Paul, but their interest is not strong and they would have to be “absolutely overwhelmed” to take on the remaining three years and $124 million on his contract. According to Jackson, the Heat would be enticed if the Thunder took on multiple bad contracts while also sending Miami multiple first-round picks. With Oklahoma City more interested in stockpiling draft picks, this possibility appears very unlikely.

The Heat have serious concerns about Paul’s age and ability to stay healthy, and are not interested in spending big sums of money on aging stars.

Indications are the Thunder want to unload Paul, and would like to pass him on to the Heat. With Miami not sounding very interested, that may not be an option at this point.