Original story follows.
In about a month, it will have been nine years since Chris Paul was first traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, and then subsequently not traded due to a complicated set of circumstances that can instantly be summed up and acknowledged by any die-hard NBA fan using two words: The Veto. No extra explaining required.
Now, nearly nine years (and several teams) later, the Lakers might actually get a deal for Paul done. Or at the very least, it seems pretty clear that they’re going to try.
And whether a trade gets done or not, the Lakers are going to be connected to Paul again during the offseason — and possibly even extending into the season — if all the rumors and speculation so far are anything to judge on. Add in that Paul is a close of Lakers star LeBron James, and the two sides having some significant smoke link them seems like a certainty.
But a deal for Paul wouldn’t be easy to make. In fact, it will arguably be harder than the first time the Lakers tried to trade for him, at least logistically. Paul is owed nearly $90 million over the next two seasons, and while that might make a rebuilding, small-market team like the Oklahoma City Thunder more willing to trade him, it also makes it harder for the Lakers to put together a realistic, legal trade where their outgoing salaries match the amount of money coming in. It’s also not clear if they have the types of assets Oklahoma City would even want.
Additionally, there is the matter of Paul having the aforementioned two years left on his deal potentially complicating the Lakers’ 2021 free agency goal of adding another star alongside Anthony Davis. Add in that it would potentially be hard for the Lakers to get a deal done for Paul that involved their 2020 draft pick while still putting together enough players to suit up on opening night, and you have a recipe for a tough trade to make.
Will the Lakers be able to complete it this time? How hard will they even try? We’ll be keeping track of the answers to those questions and more below in this updating post, so bookmark it and check back for the latest updates.