The NBA’s elite teams will be in a race to separate themselves from the title contention pack this winter. There is no overwhelming favorite like we’ve had with the Warriors in recent years, leaving this race as wide open as its ever been. Right now at MetroBet.us/Sugar there are nine teams with +2000 odds or better to win the title next June, and nearly half the league believes it is one more move away from making themselves the odds-on favorite to capture the championship.
Despite his massive contract, and age, Thunder guard Chris Paul will be one of the names most talked about in regards to a trade these next few months. He was still the second best player on arguably the second or third best team in the NBA last season and has a boatload of playoff experience. The Ringer’s Kevin O’Conner and Bill Simmons recently discussed potential landing spots for Paul on Simmons’ podcast. Here’s a snippet from that conversation.
O’Conner: Right now we’re focused so much on what Chris Paul has lost and what he doesn’t have, and what he might lose in the coming years. Instead of what he is today and what he could provide to a team like Miami. They could have arguably the best backcourt in the East (with Paul and Jimmy Butler). You could even look at a team like Milwaukee. What if they decided to flip Eric Bledsoe, George Hill, and Ersan Ilyasova and a pick for Chris Paul? What does that do to their ceiling?
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Simmons: I like George Hill though.
O’Conner: Yeah, but do you like him more than Chris Paul?
Expect the Sixers to be aggressive in the next 11 months as well. Paul would be a perfect fit on the Sixers given his shooting abilities, and Philly already has enough on the defensive end to compensate for Paul’s defensive deficiencies.
Landing Paul without giving up Ben Simmons, though, would be next to impossible financially. That said, if the Sixers get off to a slow start this season with the high expectations that are in place, and if Paul is still with Oklahoma City in December or January, expect Philly to emerge as a top suitor for Paul.
Looking longterm, if the Sixers come up short for their goal of a title next spring – Paul would immediately become one of the players that would be seen as being able to put them over the top next summer.
It’d be a giant gamble by Elton Brand to trade for a player like Paul, but the Sixers GM certainly seems to be operating with a “win now at all costs” mindset.