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Chris Paul Rejected Trade To Lakers?

Chris Paul Rejected Trade To Lakers?

Chris Paul is not technically a free agent, but he is indisputably the hottest available name on the NBA open market. This week alone the 35-year-old has been linked to potential trades involving the Phoenix Suns, New York Knicks, Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers.

On Thursday, ESPN NBA insider Stephen A. Smith reported that contrary to popular speculation, Paul doesn’t actually have any interest in joining the Lakers.

“The reason he doesn’t want to go to the Lakers is they’re already established, already accomplished,” he said. “There’s really nothing for him to do for them, it’s only what they can do for him and that’s ring chasing, not the ring chasing Chris Paul wants to do. That’s stacking the deck.”

Most assumed that Paul’s close friendship with LeBron James coupled with the Lakers’ potential need to replace Rajon Rondo was a recipe for potential marriage. Apparently not.

This past year Paul played in 70 games for the Oklahoma City Thunder. That said, in the three seasons between 2016 and 2019, he missed at least 20 on annual basis.

Beyond that, he is owed $41.4 million for the 2020-21 season and has a player option worth $44.2 million for the 2021-22 season.

When accounting for all those factors, the Lakers may not be too sad about missing out on Paul’s services.

That being said, Paul was an undeniable star for Oklahoma City in 2019-20. He took a unit that most figured was lottery-bound and carried them within a single victory of the second round of the NBA Western Conference Playoffs. In the process, he averaged 17.6 points and 6.7 assists per outing and was named second-team All-NBA.

Earlier in the week, Kendrick Perkins suggested that Paul to the Lakers was in fact feasible, basically contradicting Smith’s recent comments.

“I think the Lakers are going to land Chris Paul, I think Rondo is going to be with the Clippers and I think y’all gonna lose Playoff Rondo,” Perkins said.

“That’s the guy I think y’all are going to lose. We all know how great of friends LeBron James and Chris Paul are. Chris Paul has been on record this offseason saying that his destinations are the Lakers in L.A. or with New York. And I think he’s going to be a Laker.

“I’m telling you. I can see it happening right now, with him and Sam Presti possibly coming up with a buyout if they can’t come together and get a trade done. I’m like 85% sure Chris Paul will be a Laker next year.”

At this point, anything is possible. However, Smith has proven to be one of the more reliable NBA insiders at ESPN, so if he says Paul has no interest in the Lakers, it’s probably rooted in something of substance.

Where will Paul ultimately end up when it’s all said and done? Time will tell.

Related: Are Spurs Trading DeMar DeRozan To Lakers For Kyle Kuzma?

Carlos Garcia

A longtime sports reporter, Carlos Garcia has written about some of the biggest and most notable athletic events of the last 5 years. He has been credentialed to cover MLS, NBA and MLB games all over the United States. His work has been published on Fox Sports, Bleacher Report, AOL and the Washington Post.

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