While it appeared all along that the Miami Heat were at the forefront of trade talks to acquire Russell Westbrook from the Oklahoma City Thunder, it was the Houston Rockets who emerged in the end. After their blockbuster trade which sent Chris Paul to OKC, the veteran guard’s future remains up in the air.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski first reported the news of the trade, which features Paul, two first-round picks and two pick swaps going to the Thunder in exchange for Westbrook. But with the Thunder in the midst of an obvious rebuild, there may be a chance that Paul gets bought out of his deal and heads to the open market.
If that does happen, then things could get very interesting for the 34-year-old guard, as there could be a number of interested teams. We’re going to take a look at a few of the most intriguing buyout options, beginning with one top-tier roster potentially getting even stronger.
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Chris Paul Buyout: Lakers Among Top Landing Spots
The possibility of the Los Angeles Lakers adding Paul on a team-friendly deal after his potential buyout from the Thunder would be an eye-opening move. There was some chatter previously that the Lakers could attempt to acquire Paul via trade, but landed Anthony Davis and proceeded to add a few other strong pieces in free agency.
Although the Lakers have a well-rounded roster from top to bottom, for the most part, their approach to the point guard position is a big talking point. There have been rumblings that LeBron James could start at the position, and they also re-signed Rajon Rondo and added former Golden State Warriors guard Quinn Cook.
It’s a situation to monitor, but one that wouldn’t be surprising if it panned out, especially considering that LeBron and CP3 are friends.
Other Potential Chris Paul Buyout Options to Watch
- Miami Heat
- Detroit Pistons
- Minnesota Timberwolves
- Orlando Magic
While the Miami Heat headline the teams to watch, as they were linked heavily to Westbrook, it appears they are now in the mix as a team who could pursue Paul. But as ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported, the Heat could be in the mix as a possible trade partner.
Obviously, this makes them one of the top possible landing spots for Paul, whether it’s via trade or following a buyout.
The Detroit Pistons have been a team linked to various point guards throughout the offseason, but nothing has come to fruition, although they were able to sign Derrick Rose. While the duo of Reggie Jackson and Rose is intriguing, Paul could be a nice added veteran presence. I do think Rose is more than deserving of decent minutes, but considering the Pistons have Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond, the addition of Paul would be a strong one.
A similar thing can be said about both the Minnesota Timberwolves and Orlando Magic currently. The Timberwolves still have Jeff Teague running the show while Orlando appears set to roll with D.J. Augustin again in 2019-20. Both teams have young options who are noteworthy in Shabazz Napier and Markelle Fultz, but expectation around those two should remain tempered a bit for now.
Chris Paul & Washington Wizards’ Unique Situation
The situation with the Washington Wizards and the health of John Wall could lead to a move for Paul, assuming it makes sense financially. It appears Wall could miss the 2019-20 season with a ruptured Achilles, and there’s no question that Paul could be an option to pair in the backcourt with Bradley Beal for one year.
One key aspect of a possible move sending Paul to the Wizards is that a trade is almost certainly not an option. Wall is set to make more than $38 million in each of the next four seasons, per Spotrac, but the addition of Paul on the buyout market as an inexpensive single-season signing to fill in for Wall should have appeal.
The Wizards weren’t included with the top-five teams due to the situation with Wall but could be just as heavily involved in the pursuit of Paul as anyone if he’s bought out.