The Los Angeles Lakers only want to sign guard Chris Paul for the veteran minimum this offseason, according to the Los Angeles Times’ Andrew Greif, Broderick Turner and Dan Woike.
That means Washington could cut Paul and only have to pay a portion of his salary if the team can’t find a trade partner.
“The Lakers for sure would have interest in acquiring Chris Paul, but only for the veteran minimum,” Greif, Turner and Woike wrote.
It makes sense that the Lakers wouldn’t want to commit major money to Paul, who recently turned 38 years old.
However, he could help the team win in the 2023-24 season, especially since he would be a cheaper option at the veteran minimum than the team would have to pay to bring back guard D’Angelo Russell in free agency.
The Lakers could potentially have an opening at the point guard spot with Russell and Dennis Schroder both set to hit unrestricted free agency this offseason.
Adding Paul would be a bit of full circle moment for the Lakers franchise, and it may help the team win another title with LeBron James on the roster.
Paul was nearly a Laker in 2011, but the NBA decided to stop a three-team deal between the Lakers, New Orleans Hornets and Houston Rockets that would have sent Paul to Los Angeles.
A 12-time All-Star, Paul helped lead the Suns to the NBA Finals in the 2020-21 season, but the team ultimately lost to the Milwaukee Bucks in six games.
Paul has seen his production dip a bit over the last two seasons, failing to score over 15 points per game in each of them. In the 2022-23 season, he averaged 13.9 points, 4.3 rebounds and 8.9 assists per game while shooting 44.0 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from beyond the arc.
One of the greatest floor generals in NBA history, Paul would bring a calming veteran presence to the Lakers if they can sign him. Adding the veteran for the minimum would give the Lakers more flexibility when attempting to match deals for restricted free agents Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura this offseason.
It will be interesting to see if Paul is waived by Washington and what his asking price becomes on the open market.