After moving out of the shadow of James Harden, Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Chris Paul succeeded to regain his All-Star form and proved everyone in the league that he still has plenty of gas left in his tank. However, with the Thunder still highly expected to undergo a rebuilding process, most people see Paul leaving Oklahoma City after the 2019-20 NBA season. Once he becomes officially available on the trade market, several NBA teams who are in dire need of a backcourt boost would likely express a strong interest in adding Paul to their roster, including the Philadelphia 76ers.
According to Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report, the Sixers may consider sending a trade package that includes Al Horford, Zhaire Smith, Mike Scott, and a 2021 first-round pick to the Thunder in exchange for Paul. The proposed trade deal works on ESPN‘s NBA Trade Machine. Though he no longer fits the timeline of franchise cornerstones Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, Paul would still be an incredible addition to the Sixers, helping them address their need of another ball-handler and shot-creator.
As Swartz noted, adding Paul to the Sixers’ backcourt would enable them to maximize the full potential of Simmons’ offensive game.
“As good a point guard as Ben Simmons is becoming, having another ball-handler to play off would truly unlock his offensive game. Joel Embiid is a proven star, but he doesn’t exactly complement Simmons. Paul would be a perfect backcourt mate, able to play on or off the ball while using Simmons’ 6’10” frame as the roll man or finding him on cuts to the basket.”
Paul isn’t expected to have a hard time sharing the Sixers’ backcourt with Simmons. In the years he spent playing alongside ball-dominant guards like Harden in Houston and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in Oklahoma City, Paul has learned how to efficiently play off the ball. Paul may already be on the downside of his NBA career, but he is still capable of helping the Sixers fully dominate the Eastern Conference and contend for the NBA championship title.
Meanwhile, the proposed trade deal wouldn’t only be beneficial for the Sixers, but also for the Thunder. In exchange for Paul, the Thunder would be acquiring a young and promising talent in Smith and a future first-round pick that could help them speed up the rebuilding process. While looking for another team who is willing to absorb his contract, Horford could temporarily serve as the Thunder’s starting power forward or as a primary backup for Steven Adams and help in the development of their young core.