In their efforts to upgrade their backcourt, the Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly seeking to acquire veteran guard Chris Paul during the offseason.
Marc Stein looked at how the Bradley Beal trade affects Kyrie Irving’s status, noting that the Lakers’ main efforts appear to be focused on dealing for Paul.
“It is feasible to some unknown degree that the Lakers could elect to amend their plans and decide, in the end, that they do want to pursue Irving this summer,” Stein wrote. “But that would be a dramatic departure from the Lakers’ current Plan A, which calls for re-signing free agents Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura and trying to sign Chris Paul as a free agent should Paul make it to the open market in the wake of his inclusion in the Beal-to-Phoenix trade.”
The Phoenix Suns on Sunday agreed to send Paul, Landry Shamet and draft picks to the Washington Wizards for Beal. Trading a prolific scorer like Beal would seemingly indicate that the Wizards are in rebuilding mode and could be inclined to trade Paul for more future assets.
Paul turned 38 last month and completed his 18th year in the NBA this past season. Despite that extensive mileage, he’s still able to contribute on the court.
During the 2022-23 regular season, Paul averaged 13.9 points, 8.9 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game. Adding that to the Lakers’ backcourt would help bolster that department, especially if Reaves and Hachimura can be re-signed.
Paul is signed through the 2024-25 NBA campaign and currently scheduled to make at least $30 million in each of the next two seasons. However, his contract for this season is partially guaranteed while his deal is non-guaranteed for next season.
It seems like the Lakers would only acquire Paul if he were to hit the open market.
One key reason why the Lakers might be considering an acquisition of Paul is to get the attention of LeBron James, a close friend of Paul. After the Lakers were eliminated last month, James cryptically spoke about possibly retiring. Paul reportedly has a desire to play with James.
While James’ remarks were largely seen as simple frustration at seeing the Lakers’ season end, his status with the team is murky beyond this season. In the past, he’s spoken about wanting to play with his eldest son, who could conceivably be part of the 2024 NBA Draft.
James and Paul’s friendship is part of a tight quartet of players that also includes retired superstars Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony. James managed to briefly play with Wade during their time together with the Cleveland Cavaliers and also played with Anthony during the 2021-22 season.
Perhaps James will finally be able to play with Paul on an NBA team.