It appears that the NBA is moving forward with a December 22 start date which would mean that the league’s offseason is going to start up very soon. That means that trades could start happening and the Los Angeles Lakers appear to be players. Chris Paul is likely to be the biggest name available on the trade market and there’s been a lot of speculation that he could end up in Los Angeles.
Former LeBron James teammate Kendrick Perkins believes it’s a done deal.
“To be honest, I think the Lakers are going to lose [Rajon] Rondo. I really do. I think the Lakers are going to land Chris Paul, I think Rondo is going to be with the Clippers and I think y’all gonna lose Playoff Rondo,” Perkins said on Sedano and LZ, via Silver Screen and Roll. “I think that’s a guy that y’all are going to lose.”
It’s doubtful that Perkins has any inside information but he’s very confident in his speculation.
“Yeah Jorge I do. We all know how great of friends LeBron James and Chris Paul are. Chris Paul has been on-record this offseason saying that his destinations are the Lakers or with New York (Editor’s Note: Paul has yet to say this on the record but it has been reported that this is how he feels). And I think he’s going to be a Laker, I’m telling you. I can see it happening right now, with Chris possibly coming up with a buyout if they can’t come together and get a trade done. I’m like 85% sure Chris Paul will be a Laker next year.”
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Thunder Won’t Trade Paul to Bad Team, Says Insider
With a trade looking imminent, Paul has very little leverage. He doesn’t have a no-trade clause and his age could scare off some teams. Fortunately, the Oklahoma City Thunder aren’t going to do him dirty, according to Ryen Russillo.
“I’ve been told that they’re not going to just send Chris Paul somewhere that sucks and ‘screw Chris Paul.’ He’ll have some sort of say,” Russillo said on The Bill Simmons Podcast.
That’s good news for Paul and it could be good news for the Lakers.
Path to Paul for Lakers
Though Perkins mentioned a possible buyout for Paul, that seems very unlikely. He’s coming off a really good season and there will be a team willing to give up assets to land him. Letting him walk for nothing wouldn’t really make a lot of sense.
However, that doesn’t mean the Lakers can’t pull off a trade. The fact that the Thunder sound willing to let Paul have some say on where he gets traded helps the Lakers’ chances. The biggest question mark is just how much the guard is worth. He’s 35, has an injury history and his contract is expiring. The Thunder probably aren’t expecting to get a big haul. Danny Green, Kyle Kuzma and this year’s first-round pick sounds like a fair deal. The Thunder get a young piece in Kuzma but also get a proven veteran in Green. The Lakers might need to throw in Talen Horton-Tucker to sweeten the pot.