Chris Paul heads to the desert

Zach Beeker | NBAE | Photo Courtesy
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The Phoenix Suns acquired All-Star point guard Chris Paul from the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday.

The deal sees Paul and Abdel Nader head to Phoenix while the Thunder received Kelly Oubre Jr., Ricky Rubio, Ty Jerome, Jalen Lecque and the Suns 2022 first-round pick.

While Paul is 35 years old, he showed he has plenty left in the tank after his lone season in OKC. He was named to the All-NBA second team as he averaged 17.6 points, 6.7 assists and 5.0 rebounds per game for the Thunder.

His leadership is also a big reason why the Suns made this move. The Thunder were counted out by most last year, however, Paul was able to lead a young Thunder squad to the playoffs and bring James Harden and the Rockets to a game seven.

This move signifies that the Suns are ready to go all-in with their young core of Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton and Mikal Bridges. After going 8-0 in the bubble, it appears that the Suns want to capitalize on their momentum going into this season.

For the Thunder, they are able to get a young player in Oubre Jr. that can fit in with their young core of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Luguentz Dort. Jerome and Lecque are also a couple of young players that could develop into rotation guys in the future.

There is speculation that Rubio’s stay in Oklahoma City may be short-lived. He doesn’t fit the timeline for the Thunder and would make sense being dealt to a playoff team that is in need of a point guard.

The real asset in this trade is the Suns’ first-round pick. It is no secret that OKC is stocking up on draft picks. After collecting five first-rounders from the Clippers in the Paul George trade and two first-rounders in the Russell Westbrook trade, along with a couple of other first-rounders in other trades, the Thunder are set up for the long haul. This isn’t even counting the pick swaps that they have with both the Clippers and Rockets either. NBA fans can look forward to the Thunder and Pelicans alternating picks throughout the next seven drafts.

With Paul being the first early-season domino to fall, the NBA offseason is officially underway. It goes to show that the NBA still dominates the headlines no matter what season it is.

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