Which means the Lakers have a lot of moving parts if a star becomes available.
Like thunder guard Chris Paul.
Eric Pincus de Bleacher Report:
Some league leaders point to one of his old Banana Boat buddies as the last piece of LeBron’s Laker dynasty puzzle.
“Chris Paul would love to come back to Los Angeles. I know it would be a dream come true for Chris, ”said an Eastern Conference leader. “I know LeBron loves him and trusts him and he would be a good choice.
Paul would be fine on the Lakers. With James Harden on the Rockets, Paul showed his ability to play alongside a dominant scorer and passer like LeBron. Paul’s outside shot is a big plus in this complementary role, and of course he can handle the ball and be a playmaker himself. Paul could lighten the offensive load on LeBron and help set up. Davis. Paul’s versatile and efficient defense would also be an asset.
But Paul is owed $ 85,569,960 for the next two seasons, making a trade difficult.
And makes it reachable.
Paul is still a stellar leader. If he was younger and cheaper, the Lakers could never have a player of his caliber. But Oklahoma City looks set to rebuild and a 35-year-old Paul would no longer be suitable.
The Lakers must send at least $ 33,007,051 in wages to acquire Paul. A package that would get there:
- Danny Green (15 365 853 $)
- Avery Bradley (5 005 350 $) *
- JaVale McGee (4 200 000 $) *
- Kyle Kuzma (3 562 178 $)
- Quinn Cook (3 000 000 $) **
- Alex Caruso ($ 2,750,000) or Choice # 28 ($ 1,964,760) ***
* Bradley and McGee have player options. They must register before they can be redeemed. It is far from guaranteed that they both accept.
* Cook’s salary is only guaranteed for a million dollars up to two days before the official end of the season. The Lakers would need to fully guarantee his contract to keep him listed and tradable.
*** Choice # 28’s salary only counts once he signs, and can only be redeemed 30 days after signing.
The Lakers could also sign and trade Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to raise the outgoing salary. He wouldn’t even have to go to Oklahoma City. If he leaves the Lakers, he could be part of that business and end up anywhere. His agent, Rich Paul, had better make it happen. If Caldwell-Pope’s new team don’t have a cap on signing him outright, this arrangement could help everyone (although that team would have to send a paycheck somewhere in the trade). If Caldwell-Pope’s new team could just sign him directly, that team would need some compensation for their troubles.
The Thunder will definitely need some compensation to trade Paul.
Maybe Oklahoma City won’t press too hard. Paul is a respected veteran who did a great job as a leader last season. Thunder boss Sam Presti could do Paul a favor by sending him to Los Angeles. There is value in the wage relief this deal would provide.
But wage relief is not necessarily enough. Other teams should be interested in Paul as well.
Kuzma is the most attractive young player in the hypothetical profession, but he’s polarizing. Green and Caruso could be returned for value. Probably Bradley too. Maybe even McGee. Oklahoma City could host Caldwell-Pope, depending on his contract (which must last at least three years to be signed and traded). The No.28 pick certainly has value if the Thunder make the selection, but if a deal isn’t reached by draft night, the Lakers could take someone Oklahoma City doesn’t want. The timing leaves a lot of chance for this to fall apart, and a big part of the comeback is in the eye of the beholder.
The Lakers, however, have other clearly interesting assets. This offseason, they will be able to trade their first round 2027. Do you think Presti might appreciate this distant choice? Los Angeles can also deal with its 2023, 2024, 2025, 2026, and 2027 second-round competitors.
LeBron signifies championship contention. He is also 35 years old. The Lakers should maximize their window while it’s still open, even if it lowers the floor on the road. It’s worth it.
The Lakers would sacrifice significant depth by trading for Paul. But they would still have the mid-level exception to reconstruct. And the minimum pitches to play with LeBron, Davis and Paul on a championship contender in Los Angeles are especially valuable.
Paul is the type of star who is worth all of these problems.