The Los Angeles Lakers are going to have a very interesting offseason. Most of their roster can hit free agency and it’s no secret the team could be interested in making a superteam. It’ll be really hard for them to swing a trade for a young star like Bradley Beal but they could target an older guy who’s looking to win a championship before they retire.
Oklahoma City Thunder guard Chris Paul would probably make the most sense in Los Angeles. He’s got a longstanding relationship with LeBron James and he’d compliment the roster very well. According to Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus, there are those around the NBA who believe that Paul wants this move to happen.
“Chris Paul would love to come back to L.A. I know it would be a dream come true for Chris,” an Eastern Conference executive said. “I know LeBron loves and trusts him and he would be a good fit.”
“It seems like a risk, but sometimes you need to [execute big moves] to make yourself even better,” the executive continued. “The [Golden State] Warriors will be better. The [Los Angeles] Clippers may be better. The [Denver] Nuggets aren’t going to get worse. Your competition is getting better. It worked [in Orlando] for the Lakers, but I don’t know if you have a normal regular season without the bubble if it does.”
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Move Is a ‘No-Brainer’
For the Lakers, a move to acquire Paul makes a lot of sense. He’s a great scorer and could take a lot of pressure off LeBron. Both men can run the offense at times and create their own shots.
“It’s a no-brainer to get a third scorer [and playmaker] like Chris. It’s a really valid and viable scenario,” the executive said. “Will it happen? I don’t know, but if I’m the Lakers [or] if I’m LeBron, that’s what I go for. They might be able to get a pick back from the Thunder, like [the Miami Heat’s 2021 previously acquired by Oklahoma City].”
Everybody knows that Paul and LeBron are very close friends but the two men have yet to play on the same team together. As of right now, Paul is one of the best players in NBA history to never win a championship. Joining LeBron would easily give him his best path to fixing that problem.
What Would It Take to Get Paul?
Heading into the offseason, Paul has a little bit of leverage but not a ton. He has a player option after this season so he could become a free agent after one year. If he makes it clear that he wants to be a Laker, that could hurt his value to other teams. However, Paul is turning 36 during the upcoming season so a lot of teams might not even care if they only have him as a one-year rental.
The Lakers don’t have a lot to offer as the Thunder are probably looking to start a full rebuild. Kyle Kuzma is the best piece they can offer Oklahoma City which would’ve been a lot more appealing prior to last season. Also, the Thunder aren’t going to want to do the Lakers any favors. Perhaps a package of Kuzma, Alex Caruso and this year’s first-round pick could get it done.