Should Lakers pursue Chris Paul after trade to Wizards?

Chris Paul, a 12-time All-Star point guard, has been traded to the Washington Wizards. Phoenix is retooling its roster around Kevin Durant and Devin Booker and moved Paul in a deal to acquire Bradley Beal.

Paul could be bought out by the Wizards, or another team could be added to this trade. The Lakers and Clippers are among the teams interested in Paul.

It is also possible that Washington holds onto Paul to be a veteran leader.

A few weeks ago, LA emerged as the betting favorite to land Paul via trade if he was not in Phoenix next season. However, signing him is much more likely than a trade. If he is bought out by Washington, the Lakers could land Paul.

However, that doesn’t mean Paul will end up a Laker. The Lakers are exploring their options with the point guard market. They could re-sign D’Angelo Russell or use him in a sign-and-trade for Fred VanVleet. Kyrie Irving reuniting with LeBron James in LA is unlikely, as Rob Pelinka and the front office aren’t interested in acquiring him.

Paul is one of the most accomplished point guards in NBA history, but he is at the tail end of his career. At 38 years old, Paul is injury prone, and it would be risky to sign him as the lead guard. It’s unknown what Paul’s market will be if he hits the free agency market. While still a talented playmaker and leader, his age and availability will heavily affect his market. 

Another question is, does Paul care about earning another big contract? Or is Paul ready to take on a small deal to land with a potential championship contender?

Paul has accomplished a ton in his career but has not won a championship. The Lakers made it to the Western Conference Finals this season after a 2-10 start. They have a ton of momentum to build on this offseason.

LA fell into the trap of signing older players in the 2021-22 season, which led to missing the playoffs. They should be weary as they do not want to make the same mistake.

The Lakers should only consider signing Paul if it’s a cheap contract and as a backup secondary playmaker. It could work if Paul wants to sign on to run the second unit when LeBron James and the starting point guard are off the floor.

The 38-year-old guard is friends with James, which could influence him to accept a role like this. Paul averaged 14/4/9 with 1.5 steals across 59 games this season, shooting 44% from the floor and 37.5% from three.

The Lakers have many decisions to make this offseason. Their priority is to re-sign Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura. After that, they will figure out the point guard situation, which could be re-signing Russell or orchestrating a sign-and-trade for VanVleet. There is also the far-fetched idea of acquiring Irving.

Now, Paul emerges in that point guard situation. However, due to his age and availability, Pelinka and the front office should only consider him if he will take a cheap deal and accept a role as the leader of the second unit.

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