Rumors Swirl As Lakers Express Strong Interest In Acquiring Chris Paul And Pairing Him With D'Angelo Russell

Photo: Instagram/Chris Paul

According to a report, the Los Angeles Lakers have expressed a strong interest in acquiring Chris Paul if he becomes available.

Despite their longstanding friendship, Paul and LeBron James have never had the opportunity to play together on the same team, except for All-Star and Olympic events. However, with both players nearing the twilight of their illustrious careers, the possibility of joining forces seems more plausible than ever before.

The Phoenix Suns, Paul's current team, have been exploring trade options for his contract, but if unsuccessful, they may consider waiving him to save on financial costs. In such a scenario, the Lakers would be eager to sign him, as reported by Jovan Buha of The Athletic.

Photo: Instagram/Chris Paul

Should Paul become available, the Lakers would aim to secure his services for the veteran's minimum, a significantly lower amount than his guaranteed $15.8 million. This move would grant the Lakers added flexibility in bolstering the rest of their roster.

Notably, there is a chance that veteran point guard D'Angelo Russell could still be retained by the Lakers even if Paul joins the team. Russell, who was acquired by the Lakers at the trade deadline, is set to become a free agent during the offseason.

However, his market value appears diminished following a lackluster playoff performance, particularly in a disappointing series against the Denver Nuggets. Although Paul would likely be the preferred choice as a starter, a partnership between him and Russell could prove advantageous.

Such a arrangement would allow the aging Paul to play limited minutes during the regular season and take occasional nights off, while ramping up his involvement during the postseason where Russell has struggled.

Despite his advancing age, Paul remains one of the NBA's most proficient creators of late-game shots and mid-range scoring opportunities. His addition to the team would alleviate some of the pressure on LeBron James during crucial moments, without impeding the ball-handling responsibilities of emerging shooting guard Austin Reaves, who thrived after the Lakers traded Russell Westbrook.

The Lakers' ability to pursue Paul largely hinges on the Suns' decisions. The Lakers are said to be involved in potential trade discussions for Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards, and if those efforts fail, they could explore utilizing Paul's salary in another trade.

In order for the Lakers to secure Paul, they would need to rely on the Suns either waiving him or trading him to a compatible team. It is worth noting that Paul, who has yet to win an NBA championship, reportedly desires to join a title-contending team if he does not re-sign with Phoenix.

Partnering with a longtime friend in a city where he previously played seems like an ideal fit for Paul, at least on paper.

Read Next: Could Draymond Green's Move To The Phoenix Suns Catapult Them To NBA Championship Contention?

Source: CBS Sports 

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