The Los Angeles Lakers have two of the best basketball minds ever to take an NBA court in Rajon Rondo and LeBron James, but there are rumors the team could look to add another basketball savant in Chris Paul this offseason.
Paul has long been rumored as a target of the Lakers due to his relationship with James, one of his closest friends in the NBA. But Paul’s large contract and now likely high price tag via trade makes him a somewhat unrealistic target for the Lakers. However, if it were to happen, former NBA champion and Banana Boat crew member Dwyane Wade thinks it would make the Lakers even more dominant than they were a year ago.
“If that moment ever happens, you’re putting some of the greatest basketball minds together,” Wade said during his appearance on ESPN’s First Take. “You saw it this year when LeBron and Rondo were on the court together. These are two of the smartest basketball players that have ever played the game. You saw they thought the game two-three steps ahead of the opponents.
“Chris Paul is in the same conversation. I’ve always said LeBron, CP, and Rondo are the smartest basketball players ever. When you think about what LeBron and Rondo accomplished this year, how they made that team work, if you add CP to that same kind of mix, Jesus Christ that’s domination.”
Paul is coming off a resurgent season, being selected as an All-Star and to the second All-NBA team. He averaged 17.6 points per game to go with 6.7 assists and 5 rebounds. Paul a key catalyst for the overachieving Thunder this season, helping lead them to the playoffs.
Chris Paul’s Salary Makes Pairing With Lakers Unlikely
Paul is set to make more than $41 million next year and is tied for Russell Westbrook with the second-highest cap hit next year. Only Stephen Curry ($43 million) is higher. On top of the obvious money concerns, the Lakers don’t exactly have a war-chest of assets to give up after trading for Davis last offseason.
Outside of worrying about a third star to play alongside James and Davis, the Lakers have a bevy of other offseason needs to worry about. Markieff Morris, Jared Dudley, Dwight Howard and Dion Waiters are free agents, while Kentavious Caldwell-Pope ($8.5 million), Avery Bradley ($5.0 million, Rajon Rondo ($2.7 million) and JaVale McGee ($4.2 million) have decisions to officially make on player-options.
Lakers Favorite for Championship Repeat
Even if the Lakers were just to run it back with the same roster, they’d be in good shape considering how the season ended with the legendary purple and gold franchise hoisting their 17th NBA title.
The Lakers are favored to repeat next season at +400, per Odds Shark. The next closest squad is the Clippers at +450, before it falls off with the Milwaukee Bucks coming in at +800 and the Warriors at +900. We’ll see if all that holds with a busy offseason ahead, but with Davis and James, the Lakers are in good shape regardless of how the supporting cast shakes out.