For a brief moment, it looked like the Los Angeles Lakers had a real shot at landing Chris Paul. Rumors circulated that he wanted to come back to Los Angeles and everybody knows about his close relationship with LeBron James. Unfortunately, it looks like that was more of a pipe dream.
According to Stephen A. Smith, Paul has no desire to join the purple and gold.
“CP3 does not want to go to the Lakers,” Smith revealed on ESPN’s First Take. “He does not want to go to the Lakers, I don’t know the reasons why. I deduce, from what I’ve heard, that the reasons he doesn’t want to go to the Lakers is they’re already established, they’ve already accomplished and there’s really nothing to do for them. They would only be doing something for him and that is ring chasing and that’s not the kind of ring chasing he wants to be apart of.”
This report from Smith is a bit surprising. Paul is nearing the end of his career and a chance to join the Lakers would give him his best chance at winning his first ring. However, not every player likes the idea of forming a super team. A lot can still happen but it sounds like Paul joining LeBron in Los Angeles isn’t happening.
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Paul Return to the Clippers?
A potential nightmare scenario for the Lakers is if the Clippers can figure out a way to land Paul. Smith seems to believe that would be the best fit for him.
“He’d rather go someplace where he can be himself and be the leader that he is. … I think that the Clippers would be an ideal situation for a multitude of reasons,” Smith said.
He went on to mention that Paul is close with head coach Ty Lue and owner Steve Balmer. He also brought up the fact that Kawhi Leonard would like a point guard who can run the offense.
If the Clippers were able to add Paul, they will likely be the favorites to win the NBA championship. They’d have the best trio of players in the league and they’d finally have a strong leader, which they didn’t have last year. Based on how much they gave up to get Paul George, it’s hard to imagine they’d be able to put together an appealing package for the Thunder.
Paul Granted Permission to Speak With Suns
At the end of the day, it looks like Paul is heading to the Phoenix Suns. They’ve reportedly been in trade talks with the Thunder and it’s a move that makes sense. The Suns have some good young talent but could use a veteran like Paul to help guide them. They wouldn’t be legitimate championship threats but they would likely be a playoff team.
Apparently, the negotiations have gone far enough to where the Thunder have granted Paul permission to speak with the Suns, per ESPN’s Brian Windhorst on Fox Sports 910 Phoenix. While nothing is finalized, that seems like a really good sign that a deal could happen soon. It would be a bummer for the Lakers if they couldn’t land Paul but having him head to Phoenix is certainly better than seeing him in a Clippers uniform again.