Lakers Have Strong Interest in Pursuing 12-Time All-Star Guard

Chris Paul

Getty Chris Paul and Kevin Durant of the Phoenix Suns.

The Los Angeles Lakers are exploring how they can add Chris Paul, who is sorting out his future with the Phoenix Suns.

Jovan Buha reported that the Lakers have a “strong interest” in adding Paul, who is a close friend of LeBron James and could give LA an established veteran at the point guard position. Buha cited multiple Lakers sources linking Paul to the team. The interest is dependent on the Suns either being waived or stretched by the Suns.

“Signing Paul to a veteran’s minimum contract would allow the Lakers to use one of their exceptions on another player to bolster their depth,” Buha said. “Another option the Lakers have discussed is signing Paul and retaining D’Angelo Russell to truly solidify their point guard position, according to those sources.”

Paul is 38 years old but is still a solid contributor and distributor, averaging 13.9 points, 4.3 rebounds, 8.9 assists and 1.5 steals per game last season with the Suns. He has 12 All-Star selections, nine All-Defensive Team selections and five assists titles on his resume. However, Paul has never won a title and has had limited success in the postseason.

If the Lakers are able to sign him to the veteran’s minimum, it would be a low-risk move that would allow the team to maintain some flexibility financially. The Lakers could retain Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura, while also evaluating their options with the non-taxpayer midlevel exception and Dennis Schroder.

Chris Paul Has Dealt With Injuries Recently

Paul is a big name but the concern is if he can stay on the court. Most recently, he suffered a groin injury in the Western Conference semifinals.

Paul has come to terms with the fact that his physical abilities aren’t where they used to be. But he’s not contemplating retirement and feels like his basketball IQ is what makes him a valuable asset.

“I’ve been in this NBA a lot longer than some of the people who have been covering it,’’ Paul said during his exit interview. “I remember when the games ended in 85-80 scores. I don’t talk about it too much, but I know this game just about better than anybody. I put that up against anybody. That’s what’s not going to change, my knowledge of the game, and I’m going to keep putting in the work.”

Lakers Have Discussed Trades for Damian Lillard, Trae Young

The Lakers are doing all they can to improve their roster after a run to the Western Conference Finals. There’s been additional pressure put on by LeBron James flirting with retirement and names like Damian Lillard and Trae Young have been floated as potential — albeit unrealistic — targets.

“Young and Lillard have been discussed internally but appear nothing more than a pipe dream given the current asking prices for stars on the trade market,” Buha said.

There’s also the idea of the Lakers looking to free agency for a big name like Kyrie Irving or Fred VanVleet. However, those moves would likely have to be via sign and trade and would see the Lakers part ways with some key role players that came up big in the second half of the season.