Chris Paul is at it again in his second shocking trade of the summer.
Paul, 38, is heading to the Warriors in exchange for Jordan Poole, according to multiple reports. The Wizards will also get a protected first-round pick in 2030 and a ’27 second rounder. The Point God averaged a consistent 13.9 points and 8.9 assists per game for the Suns last season, although he missed the final four games of the playoffs due to a groin injury. Poole, 24, averaged 20.4 points per night for Golden State, starting 43 of the 82 games he appeared in.
Paul, a 12-time All-Star, is in the second-to-last year of a non-guaranteed contract for next season. Poole is about to enter the first year of a four-year deal with an average annual value of $32 million.
Let’s grade the deal.
Newly minted GM Mike Dunleavy Jr. did not waste time to get his first big swing, and it will be a worthy one. Poole is talented as a scorer, but his playing time has been inconsistent in the postseason due to his defensive struggles and inconsistent offense. Paul is almost the diametric opposite. While not a volume scorer, CP3 can take care of the ball and help set up others offensively.
Playing with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson should help extend Paul’s life. He has struggled to stay in top form deep into the playoffs the past three years, in large part because of the offensive burden he carries. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Paul come off the bench and his minutes dip below 30 a night, if only he could be fresh for the spring. He can also play alongside Curry and Thompson, who are demons on the ball. CP fits the Dubs’ fast, chaos-oriented style of basketball and will be interesting to watch develop, but there are worse players to try to integrate next to a championship core. At the very least, he immediately becomes the best backup point guard in the league—which doesn’t matter much considering how easily Golden State falls apart when Curry sits.
Contractually, the Warriors save money in the long term, which is important for a team that threatens to exceed the second tax apron. Golden State could cut bait with Paul next summer if the fit isn’t right, or even use his deal in another trade at the deadline if necessary (thanks to his near-expiration status).
In the end, any concerns of Golden State playing on two timelines seem to have been put to rest. You can’t get away from a youth movement by trading Poole for Paul.
PS I’m curious if this trade has consequences for Draymond Green, who will enter free agency. Green has played pseudo-point guard for the Dubs for years. Offensively he deserves it, Paul and Curry aren’t the cleanest. Hmmmm.
Not sold on this move for Washington. If you’re going to break things, break things! On the one hand, the Wizards bought low on Poole and took a first for a player they didn’t intend to keep. On the other hand, Poole’s value has hit the bottom for a reason. And if he can’t do it within the Warriors’ culture and with Steph, can he thrive on a tanking team?
Sure, Washington needs to pay someone for the next few years while they rebuild, but I don’t understand taking back Poole’s long-term salary while trying to play for the lottery. Will he return his value in the meantime? Also, that first-rounder is reportedly top-20 protected, so even if it declares in 2030, it will be in the back third of the draft.
In the end, for a team that isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, taking a gamble on Poole wouldn’t hurt. But even with a cap increase, I’m not sure it’s worth Washington’s time to pick up his contract.