Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul and Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James are two of the older stars in the league, both 35 years old but still producing at All-NBA levels.
Paul has heard some of the noise from the band of LeBron-haters that say Year 18 might be when he begins to decline, but CP3 isn’t buying it one bit. Paul shared his take on his good friend during an appearance on The Old Man and the Three podcast with JJ Redick.
“I don’t listen to the talking heads but they’re like ‘Oh, he’s not going to be ‘this’ this year’ and I’m just like you’re all dummies. You all don’t know. I’m not surprised by it because I know how he trains, I know his discipline. All that stuff that you’re all seeing, it ain’t going away any time soon.”
Chris Paul: LeBron James Ain’t Slowing Down
James finished second in the MVP race last season, scoring 25.3 points per game and leading the league with 10.2 assists. He’s shown no signs of slowing down and is still a freak athletically. However, he’s found ways to adapt his game and his big assist numbers last year was evidence of that.
Unfortunately for Paul, he’ll have to be dealing with James in the same division after being traded in the offseason from Oklahoma City to Phoenix. He knows what to expect when it comes to James.
“Once you find what works and what you know, there’s a discipline about it, it’s a competitiveness. All that goes into it, there’s even some vanity to it too. ‘Bron ain’t slowing down anytime soon.”
James knows he has his hands full with Paul, too.
“Our division is tough,” James said during an appearance on the Road Trippin’ Podcast. “CP is now in our division.”
Lakers Were Rumored to be in Mix for Chris Paul
Paul averaged 17.6 points per game to go with 6.7 assists and 5 rebounds last season. Paul a key catalyst for the overachieving Thunder, helping lead them to the playoffs.
The Thunder made it clear they wanted to trade Paul this offseason and would be willing to work with him on his next destination. The Lakers were a team that were rumored for Paul, but it would have taken some real work to fit his salary under the cap with James and Anthony Davis.
Dwyane Wade, another close friend of both James and Paul, thought it would have been a tremendous pairing.
“If that moment ever happens, you’re putting some of the greatest basketball minds together,” Dwyane Wade said on ESPN’s First Take. “… When you think about what LeBron and [Rajon] Rondo accomplished this year, how they made that team work, if you add CP to that same kind of mix, Jesus Chris that’s domination.”
The Lakers didn’t get Paul, but made some tremendous offseason additions in names like Marc Gasol, Dennis Schroder, Montrezl Harrell and Wes Matthews. With the Lakers poised for a repeat effort, James knows the target on the purple and gold is bigger than ever.
“I guess the bullseye just becomes even greater, if that’s even possible,” James said about a possible repeat. “For me personally, the bull’s-eye has always been on my back — or my front — since I entered the league. You add in the Laker name on top of that, the Lakers franchise, the bull’s-eye has been on this franchise for a long time as well.”
The Lakers will open the season against the Clippers on Dec. 22.
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