Chris Paul is still one of the best point guards in the league. He’s a strong, pesky, and physical defender, and also one of the smartest playmakers you’ll ever find on an NBA hardwood.
However, it always felt as if him joining James Harden would be a somewhat strange fit, as Harden’s a player that needs the rock on his hand in order to be at his best.
And, while the Rockets have thrived for two seasons with their Paul-Harden backcourt, reports claim the team is bound to go through a major roster overhaul and even Chris Paul is available in trade talks. But, where could he go? What could the Rockets get in return? And who would be willing to gamble by taking his huge contract? Let’s break it down:
The Phoenix Suns haven’t been in the playoffs for quite some time now, and while adding Chris Paul may not be exactly what they need to go into Championship contention, the possibility of him next to Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton, and the 6th overall pick in this upcoming Draft is quite intriguing.
The Suns want to trade Josh Jackson, as per the latest reports, and Tyler Johnson’s bad deal would also be a nice asset in return for the Houston Rockets, but they’d also have to add TJ Warren to sweeten the deal and give Mike D’Antoni a couple of switchable defenders like the ones he lost when Ariza and Mbah a Moute walked away.
The Philadelphia 76ers have enough cap space to try and absorb Chris Paul’s deal, assuming they strike out on Tobias Harris and Jimmy Butler, as they just can’t afford to waste Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid’s talents, and Elton Brand has shown that he’s not afraid of taking risks.
The Sixers have a handful of picks to make any deal way more attractive for any other team, so perhaps they could complete a sign-and-trade with JJ Redick and add Zharie Smith, Jonathon Simmons and several picks to try and pair Chris Paul with Ben Simmons in the backcourt. That’s a huge if, though.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers are on the verge of a major offseason, but considering the dysfunctional nature of the organization and the latest reports about Rob Pelinka, some free agents may be scared away from joining LeBron James in the Staples Center, so they might as well risk it all to get Chris Paul.
Paul and LeBron are really close friends and they surely know each other enough to make the most of their talents. However, the Lakers would have to give up on Brandon Ingram and complete a sign-and-trade with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in order to have the chance to get CP3.
The Minnesota Timberwolves truly lacked a competitor last season when Jimmy Butler left the team. They have the talent, but seem careless at times and have failed to step up when it matters the most, so adding a veteran star like Paul may be exactly what they need to take a step forward.
Also, Karl-Anthony Towns is one of the deadliest players in the league in the pick and roll, an area where Chris Paul has also exceeded throughout his entire career. In order to get him, the Timberwolves would have to trade away Andrew Wiggins and perhaps even include a couple of 2nd round picks.
New York Knicks
The New York Knicks are in a similar position to the Los Angeles Lakers. They have enough money to get two superstars and New York is always going to be an appealing destination, but there’s still a chance this franchise winds up going empty-handed at the end of the summer and are willing to risk it all by trading for Paul.
The Knicks have been on the market for a marquee point guard for quite some years now, and they could get Paul by trading away their three current choices: Emmanuel Mudiay, Frank Ntilikina, and Dennis Smith Jr. That way, they’d have enough cap space for a free agent next to Paul, Knox, Robinson and perhaps RJ Barrett.