The Oklahoma City Thunder have paused their attempts to move nine-time All-Star Chris Paul and increasingly expect that he'll start the season with the team, league sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
Paul was acquired from the Houston Rockets last week along with a bevy of future draft assets in exchange for the Thunder's franchise player, Russell Westbrook.
It's difficult to trade Paul due to the $124.1 million remaining on the final three years of his contract. Matching the 34-year-old's salary for cap purposes is further complicated by the fact that players who signed new contracts this summer - a substantial portion of the league - can't be traded until Dec. 15. It's believed that the Thunder have a better chance of trading him after that date or possibly even after the 2019-20 season, league sources told Wojnarowski.
The Thunder's brain trust and Paul's camp were reportedly working on trade possibilities, but after little movement on that front, both sides apparently view Paul playing in Oklahoma City this season as mutually beneficial.
The future Hall of Famer is coming off an uneven two-year stint in Houston. Although Paul averaged 17.1 points, eight assists, and 1.8 steals per game, he also missed 48 regular-season outings.
Playing for the Thunder would be a homecoming of sorts for the floor general. When Paul came into the league as a member of the then-New Orleans Hornets in 2005, the team played its home games in Oklahoma City due to the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina. As the city's first NBA star, Paul arguably played a significant role in stoking local fandom to the point where the Seattle SuperSonics relocated to OKC prior to the 2008-09 season.