Prior to the Los Angeles Lakers reportedly reaching an agreement to acquire Dennis Schroder from the Oklahoma City Thunder, they were among the teams connected to a potential Chris Paul trade this offseason.
Much of that stemmed from the Lakers standing to benefit from adding another ballhandler to their roster and LeBron James’ strong friendship with Paul. Executives believed James would leverage his influence to push the Lakers toward a trade for Paul.
However, nothing seemed to materialize and Paul instead appears bound for Phoenix Suns. The Suns were in desperate need of a point guard to pair with Devin Booker, and there is no one better suited for that role than Paul, who revived the Thunder after they traded away Russell Westbrook and Paul George.
Paul was sent to the Suns in exchange for multiple players and a first-round draft pick, with Kelly Oubre Jr. being the most notable name heading to the Thunder, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic:
Sources: Suns‘ future first to the Thunder is protected 1-12 in 2022, 1-10 in 2023, 1-8 in 2024 and unprotected in 2025. https://t.co/e4AFUN3OfD
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) November 16, 2020
While Paul’s name was tied to the Lakers, it was also reported he had no interest in teaming up with James. His top landing spot was returning to the L.A. Clippers, after they fired head coach Doc Rivers last month, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post:
The Suns deal for Chris Paul is about done, per Woj. Was told CP3’s first choice was Clippers now that Doc Rivers is gone. Paul seemed mixed on New York.
— Marc Berman (@NYPost_Berman) November 16, 2020
This sequence of events between the Lakers, Suns and Thunder has appeared to work out for all three parties. The Suns now have the Hall of Fame point guard they’ve been seeking out since Steve Nash left in 2012.
The Thunder got rid of two good players in exchange for even more draft capital, now owning the rights to 16 first-round picks in the next six years.
Meanwhile, the Lakers got the James backup they spent all of last season looking for. And while the Clippers may have been Paul’s top option, they likely did not have the assets to make a deal.
Dennis Schroder trade was made under assumption that Rajon Rondo will leave
The Lakers did spend the entire trade deadline last season seeking out a backup point guard, including Schroder. The impetus for them to make the deal now could be related to Rajon Rondo, who declined his player option to become an unrestricted free agent.
Rondo had a remarkable playoff run that will likely earn him a larger contract than the one the Lakers would offer him.
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