The Los Angeles Lakers have been linked to a lot of names this offseason and Chris Paul is among the most intriguing. The 11-time NBA All-Star and the Phoenix Suns sent the Lakers packing in the first round of the playoffs en route to a Finals run. While the Suns did put together an impressive season, many are questioning if they have what it takes to get over the hump after losing four of six games to the Milwaukee Bucks.
Paul is 36-years-old now and has an injury history. His championship window is closing. He’s likely to decline his player option soon and hit free agency. If he does that, the Lakers could be among the teams he considers signing with. However, it appears the Suns are still likely. On Tuesday, Paul tweeted out a message about the season and used the hashtag “CantGiveUpNow.”
Those certainly don’t sound like the words of someone who is going to “give up” on his team. Obviously, nothing is official until he signs a new contract but Phoenix has to be feeling good about their chances of keeping him for a few more years.
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Any Chance for Lakers to Land Paul?
Paul is a unique player. Not many superstars have played for five different teams while still in the midst of their prime. He’s clearly not opposed to changing teams but he’s never shown interest in forming a superteam. If he came to the Lakers, there’s no doubt it would form a superteam.
That might not be the most appealing thing to Paul. If he wins a championship with LeBron James and Anthony Davis leading the team, that will certainly be less satisfying than him leading a team like the Suns to a championship. Also, Paul will need to take a major pay cut to sign with the Lakers. As the head of the NBA Players Association, it wouldn’t be the best look if he left millions of dollars on the table just to go ring chasing. It’s fun to imagine playing with his close friend LeBron and winning a championship, but it appears to be a pipedream.
Can Paul Win a Title in Phoenix?
The Suns put together an excellent season that not many saw coming. They finished with the second-best record in the Western Conference and cruised to the NBA Finals until they were undone by an epic performance from Giannis Antetokounmpo. That said, they caught a lot of breaks in the postseason. The Lakers had a 2-1 lead on them in round one before Anthony Davis got hurt. If he stays healthy, it’s very possible that Suns don’t even make it out of the first round.
In the next round, they faced a Denver Nuggets team without Jamal Murray and then a Los Angeles Clippers team without Kawhi Leonard. Phoenix earned their spot in the Finals but the path won’t be nearly as easy next season. It’s hard to imagine that Paul and the Suns have enough to win a title in the near future.