Lakers Landing $30 Million Guard, 12-Time All-Star on Value Deal ‘Real Possibility’

LeBron James

Getty LeBron James and Anthony Davis of the Lakers.

LeBron James is no stranger to a Big 3 construct delivering an NBA Championship, but the Los Angeles Lakers may need to go another direction next season.

If the Cleveland Cavaliers don’t put Donovan Mitchell on the trade market and Trae Young doesn’t make sense from a scheme/fit standpoint, the Lakers’ options to land a third bonafide star in his prime alongside James and Anthony Davis could quickly grow limited.

If Los Angeles needs instead to add around the edges of the roster, at least until the regular season begins to unfold and trade deadline possibilities open up, one realistic option could be Golden State Warriors point guard Chris Paul.

“There is a universe where the Lakers sign Chris Paul,” Eric Pincus of Bleacher report told Jovan Buha of The Athletic on May 20. “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.”

Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report added his two cents to the possibility of Paul to L.A. on Friday.

“This version of Paul isn’t worth a budget-busting contract, but he won’t necessarily require one. His $30 million salary for next season is non-guaranteed, per Spotrac, and if the Golden State Warriors duck out of that deal, perhaps the Point God would be open to a team-friendly pact,” Buckley wrote. “The Lakers are a good team with a chance to be really good. They may not be inner-circle contenders at the moment, but they aren’t necessarily far off from that status.”

LeBron James Has Leverage to Bring Chris Paul to Lakers

Chris Paul

GettyChris Paul of the Golden State Warriors.

While the word out of L.A. is that James isn’t dictating the team’s coaching search or roster-building strategies, the fact of his leverage in all areas of the franchise can’t be disputed.

James is entering the final season of his two-year, $99 million contract, which is a player option that allows him to re-enter free agency this summer. Another element of intrigue is that his son, Bronny James, is a legitimate NBA draft prospect with mid- to late-second round value following a successful week at the combine.

If he chooses to, James can wield his considerable influence to get the Lakers to draft his eldest child, or perhaps put out into the NBA universe that he will be open to joining any team that does.

One thing is certain, though — if the Lakers can’t land a third star and James wants to play with his old pal Paul for the first time in their legendary careers, Los Angeles will make that happen.

Chris Paul Proved He’s Still Valuable Asset During Season With Warriors

Warriors' Chris Paul and Steph Curry

Getty Chris Paul and Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors.

Paul is a 12-time All-Star, an expert offensive facilitator and arguably a top-five point guard in the history of the league.

Over the course of his 19-year career, Paul has averaged 17.5 points, 9.4 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game, according to Basketball Reference. He played in 58 games for the Warriors last season, earning 18 starts behind Steph Curry on the depth chart.