Oklahoma City Thunder are continuing to explore the market for point guard Chris Paul, whom they acquired as part of the trade that took Thunder legend Russell Westbrook to Houston Rockets earlier in the summer. The franchise is said to be ready to let him go but want to make it appear like they are also happy to retain him for the upcoming campaign in order to have the edge when it comes to a trade.

Thunder are keen to ship out Paul, who does not entirely suit their rebuilding plan, but remain adamant that they will not allow him to leave without receiving at least a future first round pick. According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, they are keen to paint a picture to other franchises that they are not desperate to trade Paul but hope a team that needs the point guard will come forward and make them a good deal.

"Here's what executives expect to happen: They expect the Thunder to put out a message that we're not looking to trade Chris Paul. We want him here. We want him as a part of our unit. We want him to work with our young guys. Because they don't want anybody to think they're panic-trying to trade him. And they want to hope that somebody has something happen where they need Chris Paul,” Windhorst said on ESPN’s “The Jump”.

Thunder has stockpiled a number of future first round picks from the Rockets and Clippers after trading Westbrook and Paul George respectively, but they are not willing to give up anything to tempt a team into trading for Paul. Initially it was believed that they will look to get rid of the guard as soon as possible but their demands have put off suitors, with ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reporting that he is likely to start the season with Thunder.

Miami Heat were touted as a potential destination for the 9-time NBA All-Star but talks between the two franchises did not progress too far after the Heat asked for two of their draft picks held by Thunder to be included in the deal.

It is possible that Paul, who has two years and $79.9 million remaining on his contract with a $44.1 million option for 2021-22, starts the season with Thunder. They do see the benefits of having an experienced guard to mentor the younger players especially 21-year-old point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, whom they acquired from the Clippers and see as a future franchise point guard.