Despite speculation that Chris Paul would love to play with LeBron James on the Los Angeles Lakers, one NBA insider believes that the Los Angeles Clippers may have a better shot at acquiring the veteran guard.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst appeared on the network’s “First Take” program and indicated that even though Paul is close friends with James, that fact alone apparently isn’t a key factor in his potential destination.
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“I think a lot of people I’ve noticed have leapt to the conclusion that it’s gonna be the Lakers, a team that he was denied playing for a decade ago to play alongside LeBron James, his longtime friend,” said Windhorst. “But from conversations I’ve had, I don’t think that should be assumed. I think that the L.A. Clippers are a strong candidate, and I would go so far as to say that they may have the edge here in trying to get Chris Paul if he becomes a free agent.”
Paul was part of a trade package the Washington Wizards agreed to on Sunday in exchange for veteran guard Bradley Beal. Given the likely consideration that the Wizards are set to begin rebuilding the franchise, Paul’s tenure with the team might not be a long one.
The Lakers and Clippers are not the only teams that apparently have interest in the 38-year-old future Hall of Famer. One report indicates that the Golden State Warriors may also pursue him for what they hope will be another deep playoff run.
If the Lakers and Clippers end up butting heads for Paul’s services, it would be a renewal of a controversial situation from over a decade ago. In that instance, an apparent trade of Paul to the Lakers was stopped by then-commissioner David Stern.
Paul was subsequently dealt to the Clippers in December 2011 and spent six seasons with the team. In June 2017, he was traded to the Houston Rockets in exchange for a huge cache of players and other assets.
During Paul’s 18 years in the NBA, he’s yet to be part of a championship team, an elusive goal that the Clippers have never been able to achieve.
In recent years, efforts by Clippers management to build a championship squad have only ended in frustration. This past season, the team was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by Paul and the Phoenix Suns.
Windhorst didn’t indicate if the Clippers will make any effort to trade for Paul. The Wizards could release the veteran by June 28 and only be on the hook for $15.8 million of the $60.8 million remaining on his contract.
For now, what uniform Paul will wear this season is uncertain. However, the two Los Angeles rivals figure to be linked to him until a decision is made by the Wizards.