Report: Thunder looking to trade Chris Paul 'as soon as they can'

There were rumblings shortly after the Russell Westbrook-Chris Paul trade that the Thunder were considering keeping Paul in an Oklahoma City uniform.

Those rumblings made zero sense.

Paul is a 34-year-old All-Star-caliber point guard seeking his first championship and carrying a contract with three years and $124 million remaining.

The Thunder have implemented one of the most aggressive rebuilding plans in the history of the game, shipping off their best players for a treasure trove of draft picks to implement as they see fit over the next eight seasons.

These are two things that don’t add up.

And, as it turns out — according to more sober Friday morning reporting — Oklahoma City has no intention of keeping Paul around.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Thunder intend to deal Paul “as soon as they can.”

“The market for Chris Paul is going to be small, but Miami’s at the top of that list,” Wojnarowski said on ESPN’s “Get Up” on Friday. “They’d like to try to get that deal done as soon as they can. I was told there are some other teams too that are going to be discussed.

“Their hope in getting this deal done with Chris Paul was that he doesn’t play a game in a Thunder uniform.”

That makes a lot more sense.

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Chris Paul and James Harden together on the Rockets
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Chris Paul and James Harden together on the Rockets
OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - MAY 08: James Harden #13 and Chris Paul #3 of the Houston Rockets react to a call by the referee during Game Five of the Western Conference Semifinals of the 2019 NBA Playoffs against the Golden State Warriors at ORACLE Arena on May 08, 2019 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
SACRAMENTO, CA - APRIL 02: James Harden #13 and Chris Paul #3 of the Houston Rockets look on during the game against the Sacramento Kings at Golden 1 Center on April 2, 2019 in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 21: James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets and Chris Paul #3 react as they both foul out during a 111-106 Los Angeles Lakers win at Staples Center on February 21, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 26: James Harden #13 and Chris Paul #3 of the Houston Rockets (R) talk on the bench in the first half against the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena on November 26, 2018 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 24: James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets and Chris Paul #3 talk on the sidelines during the first half against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena on November 24, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 04: James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets and Chris Paul #3 during warm ups before playing the Indiana Pacers at Toyota Center on October 4, 2018 in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
SANTA MONICA, CA - JUNE 25: (L-R) Eric Gordon, P.J. Tucker, Chris Paul, James Harden, Trevor Ariza, and Nene attend the 2018 NBA Awards at Barkar Hangar on June 25, 2018 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Johnny Nunez/Getty Images for Turner Sports)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - JUNE 10: James Harden (L) and Chris Paul attend Summer Jam 2018 at MetLife Stadium on June 10, 2018 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage)
HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 25: James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets talks with Chris Paul #3 in the second half during Game Five of the first round of the 2018 NBA Playoffs against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Toyota Center on April 25, 2018 in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MARCH 18: Chris Paul #3 and James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets look on during the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on March 18, 2018 at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 26: James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets and Chris Paul #3 of the Houston Rockets stands on the court during a NBA game against the Houston Rockets at the Smoothie King Center on January 26, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 22: James Harden #13 and Chris Paul #3 of the Houston Rockets celebrate after Paul made a three-point shot late in the fourth quarter Miami Heat at Toyota Center on January 22, 2018 in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Houston Rockets guard Chris Paul, left, and guard James Harden look on during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Atlanta Hawks, Monday, Feb. 25, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
Houston Rockets' Chris Paul (3) speaks with James Harden (13) in the second half during Game 4 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Utah Jazz, Monday, April 22, 2019, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Houston Rockets guard James Harden, left, talks with teammate Chris Paul as they walk off the court during a timeout in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Sacramento Kings, Tuesday, April 2, 2019, in Sacramento, Calif. The Rockets won 130-105. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Houston Rockets' James Harden, left, and Chris Paul (3) talk on the court in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks in Dallas, Sunday, March 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Houston Rockets guard James Harden, right, talks with guard Chris Paul during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
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The Heat were mentioned as potential trade partners in Thursday’s reports and appear to remain the frontrunners. An aging Pat Riley made an aggressive move to get Jimmy Butler on board and would appear to covet another All-Star to play beside him as he seeks to build another winner in short order in Miami.

Paul’s still a difference-making point guard in the league, but his contract is an albatross that will make him difficult to deal to potential suitors that may be otherwise interested.

Until we hear otherwise, Miami appears to be an overwhelming favorite to land the nine-time All-Star. The Thunder already own Miami’s first round picks in 2021 and 2023, acquired in the deal that sent Paul George to the Clippers.

It will be interesting to see how this deal plays out if the two sides execute a deal.

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