The Chris Paul trade sweepstakes are about to heat up and there should be a lot of teams interested in his services. It’s no secret that the Los Angeles Lakers could have an interest in the superstar. He’s very close friends with LeBron James and has yet to win a championship. With the Lakers winning the most recent championship, that has to make them very appealing.
The interest could be mutual as Paul apparently wouldn’t mind a return to Los Angeles. In fact, according to Knicks Film School’s Jonathan Macri, the guard prefers to go back to Southern California or to the other biggest market in the country:
I’ve been told by a league source that Chris Paul prefers his next basketball home to be either in L.A. or N.Y. (Los Angeles is where he resides full time) and that has created some modicum of leverage in the ongoing negotiations between the sides. I’m also told that there is a deal on the table that is comfortable from Sam Presti’s perspective, and the ball is in Leon Rose’s court.
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This Could 4 Teams in the Running for Paul
First of all, Paul does not have a no-trade clause in his contract so he can’t necessarily dictate where he’s going to play. However, he does have a bit of leverage considering teams aren’t going to want to acquire a player who doesn’t want to be there. If Los Angeles or New York are the only places Paul wants to play, that means the Lakers, Knicks, Clippers and Nets could all be on the table.
That said, we can rule some teams out. The Clippers aren’t likely to land Paul because the Oklahoma City Thunder already have most of their draft capital for the next several years. The team gave up a lot to land Paul George and the Thunder aren’t about to take him back after a bad season.
It’s also hard to see a Nets trade happening due to the fact that they’ve got a point guard in Kyrie Irving. It doesn’t hurt to add talent but there are other players who would make more sense in Brooklyn. That leaves the Lakers or Knicks as the best fit for Paul.
Lakers or Knicks?
In terms of lifestyle and chances of winning, the Lakers are the most obvious team for Paul. He already lives in Los Angeles and it’s hard to imagine the team not repeating as champions if they added Paul.
Every year, there is talk about the Knicks landing a star. It hasn’t happened in a while and that team doesn’t seem to be a threat to win a lot of games right now. Obviously, adding a player like Paul immediately makes them better but they won’t be anywhere close to championship contention. The player who could come and turn around the Knicks would be a god in New York for a very long time but it doesn’t sound like a great fit right now. The Knicks should focus on adding young pieces and see if they can land some free agents. Unless they can add Paul and a player like Bradley Beal this offseason, they aren’t going to be even close to the Nets.