The Knicks have been "gathering intel" on Thunder PG Chris Paul, reports Frank Isola, who says New York could make a run at Paul this summer via trade.
Some members of the organization feel that Paul would provide strong leadership for their young group and help to instill a winning culture, per SNY sources. Plus, Leon Rose, current Knicks president, is Paul's former agent.
Paul, who turns 35 years old in May, was traded to the Thunder last July in the deal that brought Russell Westbrook to the Rockets.
Paul has two years remaining on his current contract. He's set to earn $41.3 million in 2020-21 and $44.2 million in 2021-22. The 2021-22 season is a player option.
He has had a strong season in Oklahoma City, leading the young Thunder to a 38-24 record entering play Thursday.
Paul is averaging 17.5 points, 6.7 assists and 1.5 steals per game for the Thunder. Paul's veteran leadership would be invaluable to the Knicks, SNY's Ian Begley noted. However, Begley added that given Paul's age, contract and the trajectory of the team, it wouldn't seem to make sense for New York to surrender significant assets to acquire the future Hall-of-Famer. Begley has also noted that when Paul was on the trade market last summer, the Knicks had little interest in trading for him.
There are scenarios where New York could create enough cap space this summer to absorb a significant portion of Paul's salary without giving up assets in a trade, Begley noted. That presumes, of course, that Oklahoma City would be willing to trade Paul -- and shed his salary -- without receiving anything significant in return.