Warriors Deemed ‘Fit’ for Former MVP as Potential Chris Paul Replacement

Golden State Warriors, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook

Getty Chris Paul dribbles.

Veteran Chris Paul has one year remaining on his four-year, $120 million deal. However, the final year is non-guaranteed, giving the Golden State Warriors flexibility to waive him and make other moves. Exploring free agent fits for all 30 teams, Bobby Marks of ESPN named Russell Westbrook as a “fit” for the Warriors.

If the Warriors were to waive Paul, it could open up the door for Westbrook to join the team.

They’d be looking for a backup point guard, which was Paul’s position last year, and Westbrook would give them just that.

Chris Paul’s Contract Decision for the Golden State Warriors

Paul’s $30 million contract could help the Golden State Warriors land a player in a trade. If they wanted to make a big splash on the trade market and move their picks with Paul attached, they’d be able to use him as a salary match.

In the event that they can’t find a team to take his $30 million contract for next season, waiving him could be the logical thing to do. Owner Joe Lacob said on an appearance on “The TK Show” that he wanted to dip below the luxury tax entirely in the 2024-25 season.

“Our Plan 1, or 1A, is that we’d like to be out of the tax, and we think that we have a way to do that,” Lacob said in February. “That kind of is the plan, not just under the second apron. I’ll tell you why that’s important because the truth is, we need to be out of the tax two years out of the next four in order to get this repeater thing off our books. We don’t want to be a repeater.”

If that’s the plan, the Warriors have ways to do so, and waiving Paul would help with that.

Keith Smith of Spotrac wrote that the “easiest” decision the Warriors have to make “seems to be waiving Chris Paul.”

“The easiest of the Warriors hard decisions seems to be waiving Chris Paul. Paul has a $30 million contract for next season,” Smith wrote on June 14. “If Golden State was still competing for titles, the prudent strategy would be to guarantee Paul’s deal and to use that $30 million as salary-matching in a trade.”

How Russell Westbrook Would Fit the Warriors

Adding Westbrook would give the Golden State Warriors a different look. Westbrook and Paul would serve the same role, but Paul plays at a much different pace than the 2016-17 MVP.

Westbrook plays fast, and while it’s worked for him during much of his career, it also has caused problems with turnovers. He’s averaged 3.9 turnovers per game over his 1,162 career games.

Paul has averaged just 2.3 over his 1,272 career games and a career-low 1.2 per game last season.

With Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, if he returns, Westbrook could be an intriguing fit if he can show any signs of the player he once was. His three-point shot is lacking, making it a strange fit next to Draymond Green, but there’s potential in lineups without Green.

Westbrook shot just 27.3% from three-point range last year on 2.3 attempts per game. Green shot the best he ever has from three-point range in terms of efficiency at 39.5% but attempted just 2.3 threes per game.

Read More