The basketball gods have never wanted Chris Paul to play for the Los Angeles Lakers. When the then-New Orleans Hornets traded a 26-year-old Paul to the Lakers, former commissioner David Stern, acting as governor of the league-owned Hornets, axed the trade for “basketball reasons.” The stars never aligned for Paul and the Lakers again.
They didn’t have cap space when he became a free agent in 2013. They did four years later, but with Kobe Bryant retired and no co-stars in place, Paul instead forced his way to Houston. He became a free agent again only a year later, and as tempting as the opportunity to join with newly-signed Laker and close friend LeBron James must have been tempting, Paul chose to remain with the Rockets after they came one game short of the NBA Finals. He was traded to Oklahoma City a year later and Phoenix thereafter with the Lakers focused on building around the James-Anthony Davis duo.
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But every time Paul becomes available, Lakers fans beg for the team to pursue him. The 2021 offseason will be no different as Paul has a player option in his contract with the Suns. Laker legend and former team president Magic Johnson started the campaign on Twitter after Game 5 of the Finals.
“If Chris Paul opts out of his contract with the Suns, his first call should be from his best friend LeBron James and the Lakers,” Johnson tweeted. “A big three with LeBron, Chris, and AD will equal a NBA championship!”
Sadly, Johnson’s time running the Lakers doesn’t seem to have given him a realistic understanding of how the salary cap works. Yes, Paul technically has the capacity to become a free agent, and yes, the idea of finally uniting with James and pushing for his first championship in the city where his family still resides no doubt holds some appeal. But Paul is the president of the National Basketball Players Association, and as such, he has always prioritized earning power in order to set the precedent that players shouldn’t leave money on the table. He has been making max money for, literally, the past 12 seasons, and while those days might be behind him, he isn’t suddenly going to dip down to a salary low enough for the Lakers to be able to…
Read More: Chris Paul almost certainly out of Lakers’ price range despite Magic Johnson’s 2021-07-21 15:01:13