The arms race in the Western Conference had a huge development on Sunday with Bradley Beal heading to the Phoenix Suns. While there are plenty of questions remaining about what the roster will look like for Frank Vogel’s new side next season, there is a tangible link to the Lakers here.
Included in the deal is Chris Paul as he will head to Washington. Only recently did Paul and the Suns agree to find him a new team or a new situation. Now, with his deal only partially guaranteed for this season and Washington likely to buy him out, Paul seems set for free agency.
And waiting for them will be the Lakers, perhaps at the front of the line. According to longtime NBA reporter Marc Stein, the Lakers would be ready and waiting for Paul if he were bought out.
Chris Paul made almost $10 million in extra guaranteed salary via this trade and, if waived by Washington, can choose his next team … albeit with Phoenix ineligible to re-sign him.— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) June 18, 2023
There will be lots of interest, with the Lakers at the forefront, if CP3 reaches free agency. https://t.co/LtNOVAstRP
It’s unclear as of now if Washington will buy out Paul. According to at least one report, if Paul doesn’t want to play for the Wizards, they would find a third team to trade him to.
A league source has told @TheAthleticNBA that Wizards officials would like to have Chris Paul on their team. But if Paul decides in the next few days he would like to be on a contender, the Wizards would work w/ the Suns to find a 3rd team in the trade to send CP3 to a contender.— Josh Robbins (@JoshuaBRobbins) June 18, 2023
This would likely rule out Paul to the Lakers, though they do have the salaries in Malik Beasley and Mo Bamba to make a deal work. But as reported by Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report, the Clippers could be the frontrunners for him in a trade.
The Washington Wizards are likely to reroute Chris Paul in a trade and the Los Angeles Clippers are expected to pursue a reunion with the future Hall of Famer, league sources tell @NBAonTNT, @BleacherReport.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) June 18, 2023
Ultimately, if it’s a trade, it’s hard to see the Lakers being the team that gets involved. If he’s bought out, the Lakers are a much more likely landing spot.
What they would use to sign him is the next question, but that would be a question to answer down the road. And right now, it seems like an issue they very well may not have to tackle.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.