Chris Paul was spearheading an unlikely Oklahoma City Thunder playoff run before the NBA suspended its 2019-20 season because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to SNY’s Ian Begley, unnamed members of the New York Knicks organization believe the 10-time All-Star point guard could have a similar effect on them:
“I think there are still people with the Knicks who feel that bringing Chris Paul onto this roster at this time would jumpstart the franchise’s effort to build a winning culture, to give these young players winning habits,” Begley said, also noting that New York’s new team president Leon Rose is Paul’s former agent.
The Knicks hired Rose on March 2, which sparked initial rumors that the team might target Paul on the trade market:
“Last spring, then-agent Leon Rose was intrigued by the notion of the Rockets offering up his client Chris Paul to the Knicks, according to a league source,” Marc Bermanof the New York Post also reported on March 5.
Paul was traded from the Houston Rockets to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for Russell Westbrook last June:
Westbrook’s departure was preceded by Paul George’s trade to the Los Angeles Clippers, which was thought to signal the Thunder entering full rebuild mode. However, Paul has been excelled in his first season with Oklahoma City. The 34-year-old’s presence has also pulled the best out of 21-year-old guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and 26-year-old guard Dennis Schroder.
Paul was averaging 17.7 points and a team-high 6.8 assists across 63 starts while also providing unparalleled clutch fourth-quarter performances:
The Thunder were 40-24 and occupying fifth place in the Western Conference.
Contrastingly, the Knicks have followed up their league-worst 17-65 2018-19 with a 21-45 record this season. New York has 19-year-old guard RJ Barrett, 20-year-old forward Kevin Knox II, 21-year-old Frank Ntilikina, 22-year-old center Mitchell Robinson and 25-year-old center/forward Julius Randle at its core.
The Knicks last made the playoffs in 2013.