Although the Los Angeles Lakers are fresh off their impressive championship run, it is never too early for the front office to look toward the upcoming 2020-21 season.
The Lakers established themselves as one of the favorites to win it all this year, but next season will be more of a challenge with several teams having legitimate shots to contend for the title.
The L.A. Clippers are still a force, the Golden State Warriors will be looking to return to prominence, and teams like the Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz could make a splash as well. The Lakers could simply look to run it back and be considered the favorites, but the increase in competition could force vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka to seek improvements to the current roster.
One popular name that has been floated is Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Chris Paul and according to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report, some around the league expect the Lakers to try and acquire the veteran via trade:
“Chris Paul would love to come back to L.A. I know it would be a dream come true for Chris,” an Eastern Conference executive said. “I know LeBron loves and trusts him and he would be a good fit.”
“It seems like a risk, but sometimes you need to [execute big moves] to make yourself even better,” the executive continued. “The [Golden State] Warriors will be better. The [Los Angeles] Clippers may be better. The [Denver] Nuggets aren’t going to get worse. Your competition is getting better. It worked [in Orlando] for the Lakers, but I don’t know if you have a normal regular season without the bubble if it does.”
Paul spent several years with the Clippers before being moved in a blockbuster deal to the Houston Rockets. He eventually was traded to the Thunder but his time there may be coming to an end as they look to rebuild for the future.
While the guard would be an ideal fit for the Lakers, his contract makes it difficult to formulate a trade. Though if they are able to complete a deal, it would bring Paul full circle in some regard after the infamous vetoed trade.
LeBron James could push for Chris Paul
Pincus also noted in his article that LeBron James could be a deciding factory in whether or not Los Angeles chases Paul this offseason. The two are very close friends and have talked about teaming up before.
With James winning his fourth title, L.A. would represent Paul’s best chance at a ring and could be something to watch out for in the coming months.
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