The idea that the Miami Heat will ultimately trade for Chris Paul this season has been circulating for a while now, with some sources going so far as to call the deal a sure thing. As of now, no actual trade has materialized, but it’s hard to recall a situation when there seemed to be such universal agreement that an eventual deal was likely.
The question is whether or not this is a good idea for a Miami team that looks ready to compete in 2019-20 – but which likely isn’t good enough to get back to title contention. We’re taking a look at the pros and cons below.
The East Can Be Had
The past several seasons – actually, beginning with the 2010 Heat – have been marked by juggernauts. But this year there’s a shift in the works toward a more balanced league, and while there are certainly some teams that look stronger than others, there aren’t prohibitive favorites. This is perhaps most true in the East, where one look at the NBA odds shows a fair amount of balance between upper-tier teams. A team that makes a move for more talent – like Miami adding Chris Paul – might just emerge as the conference’s odds-on favorite.
Paul Might Not Come Alone
It’s almost hard to believe, but some of the talk surrounding this potential deal suggests that Miami may want as much as a first-round pick attached to Chris Paul in order to take him on. Once upon a time the idea of a team having to attach an asset to Paul would have seemed ludicrous, but at this stage the point guard’s contract is a burden, and that could lead to his current team, the Oklahoma City Thunder, sweetening a deal with incentives. In other words, the Heat might be able to get Paul and a nice pick or two.
The Team Is Thin At Guard
As Post to Post Links II error: No post found with slug "feud-sports" has already written, the Heat are thin at guard, and trusting young wings like Tyler Herro and Kendrick Nunn to help out in the rotation. Thus, there is a fairly clear roster need for more talent at the guard positions, and Paul – even as he enters what are likely the final years of his career – is still exceptionally talented.
Paul’s Contract Is Massive
As mentioned, Chris Paul’s contract is widely considered to be burdensome at this point, hence the possibility that the Thunder would attach a pick in any deal for the point guard. To be a little bit clearer about it, though, Paul is due roughly $39 million this season, $41 million next season, and $44 million in 2021-22. It’s an awfully big financial commitment for a 34-year-old guard.
Justise Winslow Should Play Point Guard
Justise Winslow has always been something of a jack of all trades, which is another way to say doesn’t adhere to one position. During the 2018-19 season though, he seemed to come into his own playing largely in a point guard’s role. Miami has banked heavily on Winslow becoming a star, and while he’s been slowed by some injuries, he’s starting to look like the player the team hoped he would become. With Winslow reportedly hoping to play point guard this season, now might not be the right time to put Paul in his way.
Paul + Butler Is A Gamble
Maybe the biggest “con” – or potential con at least – is the risk that Paul and new Heat star Jimmy Butler wouldn’t be able to work together. These are two legitimate “alpha” stars, both of whom have specific reputations for being hard on their teammates. There’s always the chance that they would click from a personality standpoint, and perhaps drive a fairly tough-minded team to new heights. But the risk of a feud seems very high in this case.