Chris Paul and the Los Angeles Lakers have always been tied to each other. The Point God was nearly traded to the Lakers years ago before David Stern vetoed the move, which led to Paul eventually joining the Los Angeles Clippers instead.
And ever since his lifelong friend LeBron James joined the purple-and-gold, there has been a growing belief around the league that it’s only a matter of time before Chris Paul joins him at the Lakers.
Last year, the Oklahoma City Thunder held on to him as they made a playoff push and he mentored their young players. Now, however, that incentive isn’t there and he’s one of the prime trade candidates for the offseason.
That’s why, according to Bleacher Report’s Grant Hughes, the Los Angeles Lakers would be the best and most logical destination for the 35-year-old point guard:
“In addition to filling the playmaking void, giving L.A. a perfect late-clock bailout scorer and juicing a shaky half-court offense with elite pick-and-roll craft, CP3 would also bolster the Lakers’ already excellent defense. Alex Caruso, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Rondo performed effectively in Los Angeles’ title run, but Paul is on another level. Smart, competitive and good for at least one baited foul call per game, he’d give the Lakers an almost unfair advantage on D,” Hughes said.
“Paul also hit 42.3 percent of his catch-and-shoot treys last season, so defenses wouldn’t have the option of giving him the Rondo treatment away from the ball. And unlike Rondo or any of the other players L.A. employed at the point this year, Paul is a deadly three-point shooter off the bounce. He fired 3.4 pull-up triples per game in 2019-20, hitting those difficult shots at a 35.8 percent clip,” he added.
Then again, Hughes acknowledged that matching the salaries would likely force both teams to include a third party in this move, but pointed out as a win-win situation.
The Thunder are in the midst of a rebuild and they would be wise to get rid of Paul’s massive contract. Paul wants to in a ring before retiring, and the Lakers will need a third star next season when the Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Clippers, and Golden State Warriors will all be healthy and much-improved.