NBA Trade Rumors: Should the Los Angeles Lakers Pounce on Chris Paul in 2021 Off-Season?

Published 07/21/2021, 11:59 AM EDT
May 13, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (3) dribbles the ball against the Portland Trail Blazers during the first half at Phoenix Suns Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports


With the 2021 NBA Finals coming to a close, there were all sorts of emotions flying around, following a Game 6 win for Milwaukee. And while it was pure ecstasy for the Bucks, this will be a tough pill to swallow for Phoenix, having come so close yet so far yet again. And as Booker said in the post-game presser, it will be back to the drawing board for Phoenix. But, does a plan for the future see 36-year-old league veteran Chris Paul re-sign with the Valley?

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Paul going into the series, and especially tonight would’ve hoped to shake off the choker tag, and instead take up a new one, “NBA Champion”. But, as Giannis sunk his free throws last night, so did CP3’s championship aspirations!

Jul 6, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) speaks with guard Chris Paul (3) against the Milwaukee Bucks during the second half in game one of the 2021NBA Finals at Phoenix Suns Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

With Phoenix securing home-court advantage in Games 1 & 2, most believed the series to go 6 games. But, they bet on the wrong side! And while they lost 4 straight, the Suns failed to capitalize on key moments in Games 4 & 5 as the Bucks’ defense won them the game.

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Given his injury-prone history, is it time for Chris Paul to take his talents elsewhere for title contention as he holds a player option this offseason?

Should the Lakers offer it all for Chris Paul

Having witnessed the way the playoffs panned out for Phoenix, GM Rob Pelinka will be eyeing the situation in the Valley closely. In fact, Laker legend Magic Johnson took to twitter last night, as he invited Paul to join the Lakers organization.

Given the Lakers’ glaring roster gaps, Paul could be the perfect fit, given his innate playmaking ability. Paul in the role of the starting PG also takes an aging LeBron off the ball, while also reducing the scoring load of him and Anthony Davis.

Also considering the bond LeBron and CP3 share, it is quite possible, that with Carmelo Anthony also a free agent, that the Banana Boat Crew could get together!

Lebron James, USA, celebrates victory with team mate Chris Paul during the Men’s Basketball Final between USA and Spain at the North Greenwich Arena during the London 2012 Olympic games. London, UK. 12th August 2012. Photo Tim Clayton (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

With a player option worth $44-million available for the Phoenix star, he is also eligible for a longer and rather lucrative contract if he re-signs with Phoenix. And considering that Phoenix just went to the NBA Finals following his arrival, all signs point towards him staying in the Valley.

Coming to the Lakers, means their cap space inflexibility creates major problems. With the contracts of James and Davis weighing them down, chances of Paul coming over look slim at best. But if Pelinka is able to orchestrate a move that opens up the cap space, would it be best for L.A. to sign an aging and injury-prone Chris Paul?

It’s about the fit

While the deal looks tempting on paper, is Paul’s signing the best L.A. can get with the same cap space? Even though floor general CP3 is arguably a top-5 Point Guard of all time, his age may be a factor in a potential pitch from L.A.

Jun 1, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (3) reacts after suffering an injury against the Los Angeles Lakers in the second half during game five in the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs at Phoenix Suns Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Point God had a series of highs and lows these playoffs, as he averaged 19.2ppg/8.6apg shooting it at close to 50% from the field and 44.3% from beyond the arc. He led Phoenix from the front as they took out both 2020 western conference finalists in Denver and L.A. in the opening rounds.

But, in the end, the stage might have proved overwhelming for Paul, who after dropping back-to-back virtuosos in the WCF closer and in Game 1 of the NBA Finals looked like a shell of himself the rest of the way. In fact, his 5 turnovers cost Phoenix Game 4 against Milwaukee.

Chris Paul back in Hollywood?

While the Lakers faced an embarrassing exit in the 1st round, dynamic duo LeBron and AD will be rested and rearing to go come next season. And with a healthy Chris Paul to add to that roster? There’s no question that L.A. in that scenario, barring injuries would be a favorite, even over Brooklyn!

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Jan 1, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Phoenix Suns forward Mikal Bridges (25) and guard Chris Paul (3) and Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) and center Deandre Ayton (22) and forward Jae Crowder (99) react following a fourth quarter time out against the Denver Nuggets at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

But, as most offseasons tend to be an embodiment of expect the unexpected, one thing is for certain. If CP3 calls time on his career in Phoenix, Pelinka and the Lakers will be the 1st, but not the only ones who will come knocking!

Watch this story – From Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Return To Chris Paul’s Incredible Performance: Milwaukee Bucks vs Phoenix Suns NBA Finals Game 1

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Nikhil Naik

92 articles

Nikhil Naik is an NBA writer at EssentialySports. Having completed his bachelor's degree in Hospitality, he has worked with the Indian Hotels Company Limited, at the Taj in Mumbai. Nikhil has been playing basketball since 2014.

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