The Oklahoma City Thunder were one of the best stories of the 2019-20 season. They were supposed to finish outside of the playoff race after dealing away Russell Westbrook and Paul George for a boatload of draft picks, but instead they surged to a 44-28 record and a close seven-game loss to the Rockets in the first round.
Sadly, the fracking ghouls who run the organization are usually thinking in terms of dollar signs instead of wins, so the Thunder are getting set to blow it up, starting with letting go of coach Billy Donovan.
The reality of Oklahoma City’s eventual transition toward a rebuild made it a challenge for the two sides to find a way to continue forward together, sources said. https://t.co/gKRsM7jYle— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 9, 2020
Quick tangent: As a fan of a team that never even sniffs the playoffs, what OKC is doing is unconscionable. They have the talent — much of it young talent — and the draft capital to build a perennial playoff contender, but they’re blowing it up over money. And because the NBA is straight-up evil, you KNOW the Thunder will jump the Knicks in next season’s draft lottery.
OK, so what could this mean for the Knicks? There was a time when we could dream about the Thunder attaching some picks to get off of Chris Paul’s enormous contract, but then Paul had a resurgent (and healthy) 2019-20 season, so you can forget about that. The Thunder know he’s a legitimate asset, and they want something in return for his services.
Added to this story, Thunder beat writer @joe_mussatto wrote last week that the Thunder “isn’t likely to attach draft picks to get Paul’s contract off the books, especially after the season he had.” https://t.co/w8MD1VCaTm— Daily Knicks (@DailyKnicksFS) September 9, 2020
The Milwaukee Bucks, who were just eliminated from the playoffs Tuesday, have already emerged as the team likely to go all-out in pursuit of CP3.
There are rival teams that believe Milwaukee will explore trading for Chris Paul -- complicated as that would be financially -- if Oklahoma City indeed makes CP3 available via trade. One more thing to track as the Bucks enter perhaps the most crucial offseason in team history ...— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) September 9, 2020
The Knicks cannot get involved in a bidding war for a 35-year-old, injury-plagued PG set to earn more than $40 million in each of the next two seasons, not even for a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer like Paul. The Bucks are desperate to win a title before Giannis Antetokounmpo leaves in free agency, so they are likely to go above and beyond to secure Paul’s services.
One thought that crossed my mind was the Knicks using their cap space to facilitate the trade to Milwaukee as a third party, maybe by taking on Eric Bledsoe for a couple of picks. But Bledsoe’s deal runs for three more years after this. That’s a bit too rich for my blood.
Finally, we come to the Rooster. The Thunder are not going to re-sign Danilo Gallinari, and the Knicks are reportedly dead set on moving Julius Randle, which would leave them with an opening at the power forward spot. Could a reunion be in the works? That would be pretty cool.