Despite the rumors and reports, it is doubtful the Los Angeles Lakers get Chris Paul this NBA offseason.
The NBA Finals just ended, and there’s news already swirling about potential destinations for players this upcoming offseason. Chris Paul‘s name is among those being talked about as potential movers this summer.
On Wednesday, reports emerged that the Los Angeles Lakers are interested in getting the point guard to join their team. It would fill a need for L.A., and it would also put Paul on the same team with his good friend LeBron James — so the Lakers should do everything they can to make it happen, right?
Not to be the bearer of bad news, but any scenario where Chris Paul joins Los Angeles is improbable. There are financial and logistical reasons why him going to LA is more of a wish than a realistic scenario.
It’s unlikely the Los Angeles Lakers acquire Chris Paul this NBA offseason
Even though Chris Paul on the Lakers would form an exceptional trio of talent in himself, LeBron James and Anthony Davis, CP3’s chances of wearing purple and gold next season are highly unlikely. For starters, that means the 16-year vet would have to turn down his player option — a $44.2 million option. Of course, doing so would make him an unrestricted free agent who could sign with any team, but would he sacrifice that kind of money to join Los Angeles? That’s a lot of money Paul would leave on the table to join a Lakers team that is cash-strapped, to say the least
L.A. has five players under contract but will be close to or over the league’s projected $112.4 million salary cap. If Paul wanted to join the Lakers, he’d have to be open to taking a massive pay cut because the team can’t afford his hefty contract. In fact, if he signed on for anything more than a $5.9 million exception, like, say the mid-level exception worth $9.5 million, that would leave the Lakers hard-capped.
If the Lakers wanted to work a sign-and-trade, they’d have to give up so many assets for Paul and get virtually nothing in return. Winning is important, but mortgaging your future for a 36-year-old point guard doesn’t seem like the smartest move for Rob Pelinka and crew, and the players they’d be sending Phoenix in return — Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Kyle Kuzma, Talen Horton-Tucker and more — wouldn’t really move the needle for a Suns team that would need to agree to such a deal.
Perhaps the most obvious reason why it’s unlikely Paul joins the Lakers is because of the success he had in Phoenix and how much he loves his situation there. He helped lead the Suns to the second-best record in the league and to the NBA Finals. Players and coaches have expressed what his presence meant to the team this season, and he’s reiterated all season long how much he loves playing for Monty Williams alongside Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton, Mikal Bridges and Jae Crowder. He can opt into his player option or decline to re-sign a deal with a lesser annual salary and more years attached. The latter option will give Phoenix the flexibility to bring back key players like Cameron Payne, according to ESPN.
Having a Lakers superteam of Chris Paul, LeBron James and Anthony Davis would make the squad favorites to win an NBA title, but the finances and logistics prevent this scenario from truly happening. It would be too much for both sides, as the pay cut is huge for Paul, and acquiring him is too difficult to navigate, especially if he has no interest in leaving in the first place.
Los Angeles does need a point guard this offseason, but it’s unlikely that they will have the resources to acquire LeBron’s dear friend in CP3.