Bradley Beal Trade From Wizards To Suns Could Pave Way For Lakers To Sign Chris Paul If Bought Out
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

With the NBA Finals wrapped up, the NBA offseason is officially here and teams like the Los Angeles Lakers will have a lot of interesting decisions to make.

It’s no secret that the Lakers want to re-sign both Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura, but they also will need to address the point guard situation with D’Angelo Russell and Dennis Schroder both hitting free agency as well.

One name who has begun to emerge as a legit possibility is Chris Paul, and the path to making that happen may have gotten easier for L.A. on Sunday afternoon.

The first big domino of the NBA offseason fell as the Phoenix Suns are reportedly acquiring Bradley Beal from the Washington Wizards for Paul, Landry Shamet, multiple second-round picks and swaps, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

The Washington Wizards are finalizing a trade to send three-time All-Star guard Bradley Beal to the Phoenix Suns for a package expected to include Chris Paul, Landry Shamet, several second-round picks and picks swap, sources told ESPN on Sunday.

Rumors began circulating last week that the Suns were thinking of waiving Paul with only $15 million of his $30 million salary fully guaranteed.

Not only did the Suns avoid waiving the future Hall of Famer, but they were able to turn his expiring contract along with very limited assets into an All-Star talent in Beal.

The motivation for Washington behind this move was to get out of Beal’s supermax contract while not taking back long-term money as they now head towards a rebuild.

At least $25 million of Paul’s salary will now be guaranteed, and there is a good chance he will be waived by the Wizards after the completion of the trade. That would allow him to hit the free agent market, where he can sign with any team except the Suns. Under the CBA, if a player is traded and waived, he cannot re-sign with his old team unless he is traded to another team beforehand.

If Paul is indeed a free agent then the Lakers will certainly be an attractive landing spot. He would sign for the minimum, so they would still be able to retain their other key free agents.

Additionally, Paul makes his home in Los Angeles and is close friends with LeBron James. There certainly will be other suitors like the L.A. Clippers though, and it appears that the Wizards rerouting him is still on the table, per Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report:

Wizards president of basketball operations Michael Winger came from the Clippers front office, so it wouldn’t be surprising to she him work with his old colleagues to get a deal done.

With the possibility of a deal not coming to fruition though, all eyes will be on a potential buyout which would allow Paul to pick his next team with the Lakers being in the mix.

Lakers looking to sign Paul and retain Russell

While the Lakers’ interest in Paul would seem to mean the end of the Russell era in L.A., it actually appears to be the contrary. According to recent reports, the Lakers would like to sign Paul and retain Russell, which is a luxury they can afford if they land the former for the minimum.

If the Lakers are indeed able to make that happen, then the only question becomes which of the two will start at point guard with the other presumably coming off the bench.

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