NBA trades can get complicated, especially when trading draft picks deep into the future.
This could be a significant holdup in a potential trade involving Chris Paul and the Miami Heat. The veteran point guard is part of the Oklahoma City Thunder after coming over in exchange for Russell Westbrook, but the team will likely try to ship him out again.
While the Heat are apparently interested, they want to bring back picks they previously traded.
Brian Windhorst of ESPN broke down the situation Monday on SportsCenter:
"When you talk about him potentially going to the Miami Heat, which is his preference, one thing I’ve been told in the talks, the fact that the Thunder hold the two of the Heat’s first-round picks in the future—unprotected 2021, protected 2023—makes this a difficult conversation because the Heat want those picks back. The Thunder have expressed interest in giving one of those picks back but they would want another pick farther off into the future."
The 2023 pick is lottery-protected and was used as a sweetener to the Los Angeles Clippers earlier this month to help complete the sign-and-trade that landed Jimmy Butler, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. The 2021 pick is unprotected and was originally dealt in the 2015 trade that landed Goran Dragic.
While the Heat benefitted from both those deals, they apparently want their own picks back to take on Paul's contract.
Windhorst previously said on The Rich Eisen Show that the Thunder will likely have to attach picks just to get rid of the point guard. He is still an effective player on the court but is owed more than $120 million over the next three years.
Oklahoma City will take a deliberate approach to any deal, but the mutual interest between Miami and Paul could lead to a deal.