Chris Paul and the Thunder might not want to be married, but a divorce is seeming less and less likely.
The Thunder acquired the nine-time All-Star along with two first-round draft picks and two pick swaps from the Houston Rockets in exchange for Russell Westbrook.
The expectation was that the Thunder would try to move Paul to another team, but those discussions reportedly have petered out and the Thunder expect Paul to begin the season with the team, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Wednesday, citing sources.
Story filed to ESPN: Oklahoma City's discussions to move nine-time All-Star guard Chris Paul onto a new destination are parked and an increasing expectation exists that he will start the season with the Thunder.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 17, 2019
Should Paul stick with the Thunder, OKC could still be a threat to make the NBA playoffs in the revamped Western Conference, which is bad news for a Kings team looking to make another leap and snap their 13-year playoff drought.
A starting five of Paul, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari, Andre Roberson and Steven Adams has the potential to be a frisky team. A motivated Paul could bring the best out of Gilgeous-Alexander and create a solid pick-and-roll combo with Adams. A Paul-led Thunder team would make 12 Western Conference teams with a legitimate shot to make the playoffs -- apologies to the Suns, Grizzles and T'Wolves -- making the West all the more challenging.
Of course, Paul could begin the season in OKC only to be dealt later on. But that would require a team wanting to take on the second-worst contract in the NBA.