Things change quickly in the NBA, as shown over the last week. Chris Paul’s future in Phoenix was put in limbo earlier this week and then it all quickly came to an end on Sunday as the team dealt him for Bradley Beal.
While CP3 continues to work out his own future and where that may be, the Lakers are reportedly forming their ideal offseason in the background and Paul is part of that.
According to Marc Stein, longtime NBA reporter, in his latest Substack, the Lakers’ current “Plan A” free agency involves signing Paul as a free agent.
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. 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. Haynes also reported Sunday that the LA Clippers would try to keep Paul from making it to unrestricted free agency by trading for him separately by month’s end or potentially joining the Beal-to-Phoenix blockbuster as a third team that lands Paul.
As Stein notes, it’s not even guaranteed right now that Paul becomes a free agent. The Clippers are a potential target to land him in a trade with a number of movable contracts. There’s also a non-zero chance he stays with the Wizards, though that number does feel pretty close to zero itself still.
But in the event he’s bought out, it feels like the Lakers are one of the favorites, if not the favorite to sign him. Again, though, what’s going to be noteworthy here is what contract he’s willing to accept.
If he’s signing on the veteran’s minimum, then it’s a great deal with no caveats. Considering the low stakes, it’s basically impossible to have a bad veteran’s minimum deal. From there, it depends on how much he asks for and which exceptions the Lakers have and use to sign him.
Assuming it is a fair and reasonable deal, this feels like a good signing for the Lakers. It allows the team to take the ball out of LeBron’s hands, takes the pressure and burden off him and allows him to rest more in the regular season to prep for the playoffs.
There are some...caveats that come with rooting for Chris Paul and his antics on the court. But he’s a successful player even at this age and can be helpful on the right type of contract.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.