It's not a secret to anybody that LeBron James is the most influential player in the NBA. He even seems to have more leverage than some executives from the team he plays in, and one way or the other, he always gets away with exactly what he wants.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that's a bad or negative thing, that's just a fact, and even the executives around the league aren't afraid to admit it. As a matter of fact, an unnamed former Western Conference executive went as far as to claim that James is the one running Klutch Sports, not Rich Paul:
"LeBron runs [Klutch]," the former Western Conference executive told Bleacher Report.
That's why there have been a lot of rumors lately claiming that Chris Paul could end up with the Los Angeles Lakers next season, considering the title window is closing on him and that he's one of LeBron James' closest friends:
"Chris Paul would love to come back to L.A. I know it would be a dream come true for Chris. I know LeBron loves and trusts him and he would be a good fit," an Eastern Conference executive also told Bleacher Report.
Obviously, trading for an aging player with such a massive contract could be a risky move for the Championship-winning Los Angeles Lakers. Then again, the thought of Chris Paul, LeBron James, and Anthony Davis together is a scary thought for the rest of the league:
"It seems like a risk, but sometimes you need to [execute big moves] to make yourself even better. The [Golden State] Warriors will be better. The [Los Angeles] Clippers may be better. The [Denver] Nuggets aren't going to get worse. Your competition is getting better. It worked [in Orlando] for the Lakers, but I don't know if you have a normal regular season without the bubble if it does," the executive continued.
The Lakers' offense looked stagnant at times this year when Anthony Davis and LeBron James couldn't get their way in the paint, and while Kyle Kuzma had some big games, he failed to step up as that consistent third scorer for them, and that's why adding CP3 to the mix could be so good for them:
"It's a no-brainer to get a third scorer [and playmaker] like Chris. It's a really valid and viable scenario. Will it happen? I don't know, but if I'm the Lakers [or] if I'm LeBron, that's what I go for. They might be able to get a pick back from the Thunder, like [the Miami Heat's 2021 previously acquired by Oklahoma City]," the report concluded.
We've already seen these kinds of things happen. James wanted Wade by his side in Cleveland and he got it. He wanted the Heat to draft Shabazz Napier and he got it. He reportedly didn't get along with Isaiah Thomas and they traded him. There's definitely a pattern here.
Whether Rob Pelinka and the Lakers will be willing to absorb Paul's contract is yet to be seen, but this rumor isn't going away any time soon.