It appears that Phoenix Suns don’t want to hang out with the bottom of the Western Conference anymore.
The team confirmed on Monday that they have acquired All-Star guard Chris Paul in a trade with Oklahoma City Thunder. According to terms of the deal, the Suns will also get forward Abdel Nader while sending a package centered on forward Kelly Oubre Jr., point guard Ricky Rubio, and a 2022 first-round pick in return. OKC will also get 2019’s No. 24 pick Ty Jerome and former undrafted guard Jalen Lecque.
The Suns have been talking with Thunder about a possible trade for Paul for some time now. The team sees the 35-year-old player as a perfect fit, reportedly believing that the veteran can lift their talented but inconsistent young squad the way he did with OKC’s team in 2019/20.
“We are excited to welcome Chris Paul and Abdel Nader to Phoenix,” said Phoenix’s general manager James Jones in a statement. “Chris’ leadership and competitive approach to the game will have an immeasurable impact on our team. Abdel possesses all the traits on and off the court that will complement our culture.”
Oklahoma City Thunder got Chris Paul in the summer of 2019 in a trade that saw Russell Westbrook head to Houston Rockets. At the time, it was believed that Thunder would have a hard time moving Paul elsewhere due to his big contract (two years and $80 million) and age.
However, Paul responded with one of his best seasons in years, earning his first All-Star nod since 2020. He finished the 2019/20 averaging 17.6 points, 6.7 assists, and 5.0 rebounds per game while leading the Thunder to an unexpected playoff appearance.
Now, Paul will be tasked to do the same in Phoenix as the Suns look to make their first postseason appearance in more than 10 years.