Chris Paul has had a legendary career, as an 11-time All-Star and future first-ballot Hall of Famer. He has accomplished almost everything on an individual level but his championship aspirations have not been met. As a star for the Hornets, Clippers, Rockets, Thunder, and now the Suns; Paul has yet to play on a superteam. That might explain why he hasn't made an NBA Finals until this year.
But Chris Paul, at 36 years of age, is running out of time. The only thing he needs to add to his collection is an NBA championship trophy because that is the most important accolade that legends are judged by. Paul has gone against the norm of forcing trades, which is why he is one of the most respected players in the NBA, but he needs to join a superteam. More specifically, he must join the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers are out of the first round at the hands of Chris Paul and the Phoenix Suns, so it might be time for both parties to join each other.
Chris Paul has done exceptionally well to lead the Suns to the NBA Finals this year, but he is at risk of blowing his chance to become a champion. Paul and the Suns are down 2-3 to the Milwaukee Bucks despite grabbing a 2-0 lead to start the series. Giannis Antetokounmpo and company have all the momentum right now, and Phoenix must win the next 2 games to achieve their goal. If they don’t, and Paul loses in his first-ever Finals appearance, he should team up with LeBron James and Anthony Davis in Los Angeles for one last hurrah.
After all, LeBron James was in attendance for Game 5 last night and he knows better than anyone the value of teaming up with superstars to win multiple NBA titles. The only thing standing in Chris Paul’s way is a sign and trade deal between the Suns and the Lakers, forced by Paul’s wish to play in Los Angeles.
Chris Paul Must Reject His Player's Option Worth $44 Million And Force A Sign And Trade
If Chris Paul gets a chance to join LeBron James in Los Angeles for one last hurrah, he must make a personal sacrifice. A $44 million sacrifice. That is going to be a very hard thing to swallow, even for a player who has made hundreds of millions over his career. Leaving that money on the table has hardly been done in sports history, so why should Chris Paul do it?
Because a championship might be worth more than that for Paul's legacy. Chris Paul is a legend of the game but the main criticism has been his inability to remain healthy in key moments and even lead his team to the NBA Finals. He has played with some star-caliber players such as James Harden, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan but none of them compare to LeBron James.
As great of a playmaker, Chris Paul is, LeBron James is more dominant. He is much larger than Paul and would greatly relieve the pressure off of the point guard to create for others. Most importantly, Paul would create the best Big Three in the West with James and Anthony Davis. The Los Angeles Lakers won the title in 2020, have a chance to win the title in 2021, and would be the favorites to reach the Finals in 2022 with Chris Paul on the squad. If Paul can sacrifice his $44 million player option, he could force Phoenix to negotiate a sign and trade deal with the Lakers that will send Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, and Dennis Schroder to the Suns. Of course, that means Phoenix has their new starting point guard in Schroder and incredible depth including two players who can backup Deandre Ayton next season.
It Is Time For The Lakers And Chris Paul To Revisit History
The NBA vetoed one of the biggest trades in modern history when the Lakers were prevented from acquiring Chris Paul in 2011. Cleveland Cavaliers general manager Dan Gilbert was the main voice behind the veto because he stated how the Lakers would acquire Chris Paul to join Kobe Bryant and save $40 million in salary cap to acquire Dwight Howard as well. The league was petrified of a Lakers superteam led by Bryant and Paul, so NBA commissioner David Stern decided to veto the trade.
After all, which team in the league outside of the Miami Heat superteam, aging Boston Celtics, and Dirk Nowitzki-led Dallas Mavericks would have had a shot against the Lakers with Chris Paul? Dan Gilbert brought up the fact that each of the 29 owners paid a share of the NBA's purchase of the New Orleans Hornets, and they had a right to voice their disapproval of the trade. Chris Paul was a New Orleans Hornets player after all.
10 years later, it is time for the Lakers to revisit history and acquire superstar point guard Chris Paul. Paul isn't the same player he was a decade ago but he is just as smart if not smarter. Paul's leadership and skills at the point guard position are still championship material and he won't have to play many games in the regular season with Anthony Davis carrying the team. LeBron, Paul, and Davis are the best possible trio for the Lakers to win it all and give Paul the chance to win a championship (especially if he doesn’t get it done this year).
Is it finally time to watch Chris Paul in a Lakers jersey?