At the age of 35, Chris Paul is still one of the best point guards in the league. Paul was drafted by the New Orleans Hornets fourth overall in the 2005 NBA Draft as a sophomore out of Wake Forest. Since being drafted, Paul has played for the Hornets, the Los Angeles Clippers, the Houston Rockets, and is currently signed through the 2021-22 season with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Last season, Paul’s 15th year in the league, he averaged 17.6 points per game, along with 6.7 assists and 5.0 rebounds. Elite numbers while leading a surprisingly good Thunder team to the 5th seed in the Western Conference. Beyond the numbers, Paul’s leadership and playmaking abilities remain among the best in the league, leading to increased interest for him on the trade market.
With the Thunder going through a rebuilding process, it is expected that Paul will be traded. Though according to Jonathan Macri, host of the KFS Pod, Paul prefers either New York or Los Angeles where he makes his off-season home.
“I’ve been told by a league source that Chris Paul prefers his next basketball home to be either in Los Angeles or New York, and that has created some modicum of leverage in the ongoing negotiations between the sides.” ~ Jonathan Macri
New York Knicks or Brooklyn Nets
Houston traded Paul to Oklahoma City for Russell Westbrook, in a swap of two ball handlers. Lightning likely won’t strike twice. Brooklyn is already committed to Kyrie Irving long haul, so that leaves only the Knicks. A young team that could use a veteran leader and mentor like Paul, and has the young pieces to make a trade work. Additionally, by chance, Paul’s old agent Leon Rose is the Knicks’ new President of Basketball Operations, leading many to speculate that New York would be an extra soft landing for the coveted point guard.
Los Angeles Clippers or Los Angeles Lakers
Paul makes his off-season home in Los Angeles, is close friends with LeBron James, and has played six full seasons for the Clippers. However, like the Nets, the Clippers are not in the need of a ball-handling guard, while the Lakers have a glaring hole in just that spot. Rajon Rondo is expected to opt-out of his contract and becomes an unrestricted free agent. Fan-favorite Alex Caruso is signed through next season, however, it’s certain that coach Frank Vogel would prefer him to come off the bench. Paul’s contract could be an issue, but he’s certainly a strong fit.
Lakers or the Knicks?
At the end of the day, it is the Thunder that has the most control over the situation. The Lakers would have to include both their first-round pick in 2020 (#28 overall) and Kyle Kuzma in any trade package, as well as clear enough salary to get Paul’s contract in under the cap. That means at least two more players from a pool of Danny Green, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Avery Bradley, Quinn Cook, and JaVale McGee would have to be moved; likely three.
The Knicks were 21-45 record this past season but have an incredible young core including guard RJ Barrett, forwards Frank Ntilikina and Kevin Knox, and center Mitchell Robinson. Ex-Laker’s power forward Julius Randle is only 25 years old and could be packaged with two high picks to make the trade work for both New York and Oklahoma City.
The Favorite to Land Chris Paul?
According to the NBA, the 2020-2021 season will begin on December 22. Basketball futures are already live and the Lakers are the odds-on favorite to repeat as Champions, while the Knicks are a 250-1 underdog. Alternately, if sports betting isn’t your thing, platforms such as SlotsUp may be a great entertainment option. As to the ultimate winner of the Paul sweepstakes? In all likelihood, it will be Chris Paul, who will pretty much be able to pick his own landing spot for the upcoming season.