Chris Paul and the Phoenix Suns had arguably their most successful season in franchise history, defeating the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers as well as the Denver Nuggets to punch their ticket to the NBA Finals.
That run came to an end on Tuesday night though when the Suns were defeated by the Milwaukee Bucks in six games with the latter winning their first NBA Championship since 1971.
Now going into the offseason, there are a lot of question marks surrounding Paul and his future with the Suns. Things seemed to work out perfectly after he was traded there last offseason, but he now has a $40 million player option he has to decide on, having the ability to test free agency if he chooses.
At 36 years of age, Paul’s chances of winning a championship are dwindling. Even though they are coming off a very successful year, the West will only be getting healthier and better moving forward and the Suns do not have much of an avenue to improve if they pay Paul as well as extend Deandre Ayton and Mikal Bridges, as is expected to happen.
One option for Paul could be returning to L.A. and playing alongside his close friend LeBron James on the Lakers. According to Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated, that is something the Lakers will look at this summer:
According to sources, LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers have been on the hunt for veteran point guard, and Paul is on the list.
Spears then went on to break down how this is possible financially for the Lakers and Paul:
For Paul to join forces with James for the first time in their careers, it would likely take a sign-and-trade with the Suns. The most the over-the-cap Lakers can offer Paul without a sign-and-trade is a $9.5 million taxpayer midlevel exception. The attraction of chasing his first championship with James, Anthony Davis and the Lakers could be an appealing option for Paul to ponder. Keep in mind that Paul, a former LA Clippers star, still lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two kids.
While this seems unlikely to happen, it has been clear that the Lakers are looking for a point guard for a while now after Dennis Schroder had an up-and-down first season with the team.
Even though Paul is getting older, he proved this postseason that he can still play at an elite level and he certainly fits the Lakers’ timeline with James also being 36.
If a deal were to take place, it would likely be a trade with Paul opting into the final year of his deal unless he is willing to take a significant pay cut in free agency. In order to match salaries, the Lakers would likely have to sign-and-trade Schroder back to Phoenix along with Kyle Kuzma and potentially other pieces as well. While not impossible, a lot would have to fall into place for Paul to end up alongside James on the Lakers, including an agreement from the Suns.
Lakers also interest in Westbrook
One other option for the Lakers at point guard could be Russell Westbrook as Spears also reported that he is someone they have talked about as a potential trade candidate. Similar to the Paul situation, the Lakers would have to send salaries back to the Washington Wizards and Spears is reporting that Schroder, Kuzma and Talen Horton-Tucker could be a potential package.
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