Lakers Have Mixed Feelings About Adding 12-Time NBA All-Star: Report

chris paul lebron james

Getty LeBron James hugging Chris Paul.

The Los Angeles Lakers are not all-in on adding 12-time NBA All-Star point guard Chris Paul if the Golden State Warriors waive him, according to NBA insider Marc Stein.

“I keep hearing that Paul, if he actually makes it to free agency at some point, would draw interest from the Clippers as well as the Lakers. Paul’s desire to play as close to his L.A.-based family as possible is well-known, but I’m told interest in bringing him to the Lakers might not be unanimous within the organization despite Paul’s well-chronicled friendship with LeBron James,” wrote in his Substack newsletter on June 23.

Aside from his friendship with James, Paul also played with the Lakers’ new head coach JJ Redick for the “Lob City” Clippers for four seasons.

The Warriors have until June 29 to guarantee Paul’s $30 million salary. There is a real possibility he gets waived if the Warriors cannot find a trade until that deadline date. However, Stein added that the Warriors could push the deadline into July, provided Paul agrees to it.

State of the Lakers Backcourt

The Lakers have question marks in their backcourt with D’Angelo Russell holding an $18.6 million player option and Spencer Dinwiddie hitting the open market.

If Russell declines his option and leaves the Lakers and Dinwiddie opts to sign elsewhere, that will leave only Gabe Vincent as the team’s point guard.

Vincent, who was limited by an ankle injury, was unimpressive in the first season of his three-year, $33 million contract.

Meanwhile, Paul was still serviceable even at his advanced age and his diminished role with the Warriors last season. The veteran point guard led the Warriors in assists (6.8) and steals (1.2) while producing 9.2 points and 3.9 rebounds in 26.4 minutes, mostly off the bench.

Will Chris Paul Accept Veteran’s Minimum?

If Russell declines his option and leaves, the Lakers will have the $12.9 million non-tax midlevel exception to sign a free agent. Giving that to a 39-year-old point guard, who missed 20 or more games in each of the last three seasons is an unwise move.

Bleacher Report’s salary cap expert Eric Pincus said the Lakers have to bet Paul does not get an offer above the veteran’s minimum in the open market.

“Chris Paul will probably be a free agent,” Pincus said on “Buha’s Block” on May 20. “There is a reasonable chance he gets traded or just cut by the Warriors. LeBron [James] and [Paul] obviously have a close relationship. There is a universe where the Lakers sign Chris Paul. I don’t think it’s outrageous.

I would be remiss without mentioning Chris Paul as a real possibility. It makes a lot of sense to me… Is Chris coming for the minimum? I don’t know… I don’t want to say he comes cheap to the Lakers, but in the absence of a better offer I could see that.”

If healthy, Paul can provide stability in the Lakers’ backcourt to help first-time coach Redick. Paul can also spread the floor for James and Anthony Davis with his mid-range game and pick-and-roll game.