Chris Paul trade rumors have taken an interesting turn for the L.A. Clippers. These latest Clippers trade rumors involve Paul going to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for point guard Kyrie Irving. A report from ESPN on Sunday, January 24, has furthered the talk of a trade between the two teams. It has created a lot of buzz on social media about the two franchises exchanging All-Star point guards. While the Cavs and Clippers are expected to be active as the NBA trade deadline approaches, is this a deal that would actually help both teams?
The 2016 All-Star starting lineup was revealed recently, with neither Paul nor Irving making the cut. Both players are expected to become reserves for their respective conferences when that announcement comes out later this week. Last season both players made the rosters, with the game resulting in a 163-158 win for the Western Conference. Paul had 12 points and 15 assists, while Irving had 11 points, six rebounds, and five assists. The MVP winner was Russell Westbrook, who scored 41 points off the bench for the West.
A main reason that the Chris Paul trade rumors have surfaced is that the L.A. Clippers have been unable to make it to the NBA Finals with him as the starting point guard. Through 44 games this season, the Clippers have the fourth best record in the West. The team is at 28-16, but trails the Golden State Warriors by 12 games in the Pacific Division. The Clippers are also four games behind the Oklahoma City Thunder for the third seed in the West.
During parts of five seasons with the Clippers, Chris Paul has averaged 34.5 minutes, 18.7 points, 9.9 assists, 4.1 rebounds, and 2.3 steals per game. The Clippers have made the playoffs in each of those first four seasons, leading to one first-round exit and three second-round exits. The combination of Paul and Blake Griffin hasn’t been able to get the Clippers to the Western Conference Finals, let alone the NBA Finals. It is because of this that trade rumors hint at a possible change coming.
Kyrie Irving has been putting up great numbers for the Cleveland Cavaliers. In 272 career games, Irving has averaged 34.1 minutes, 20.7 points, 5.5 assists, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.4 steals per game. Irving is more scoring oriented, which differentiates him from the pass-first method that Paul employs. This is why a trade could work between the Clippers and the Cavs, because LeBron James and Kevin Love could use a point guard that looks to pass first. At the same time, the Clippers could use someone capable of scoring more points in the place of Paul.
Another component of the Chris Paul trade rumors are the contracts of the two All-Star point guards. Paul earns about $21.5 million during the 2015-16 NBA season, about $23 million next year, and then has a player option of about $24.3 million for 2017-18. Kyrie Irving is under contract through at least the 2018-19 NBA season, with a player option to remain in Cleveland for the 2019-20 season. He makes about $14.8 million this season and gets a pay raise of about $1.1 million each season after.
Though there is a lot of chatter about a possible deal between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Clippers, it’s important to point out that neither franchise has confirmed discussions about exchanging point guards. While it might be something that could shake up the roster of both teams and provide a new look for the offenses on each coast, it would also be considered an extremely bold move for two franchises guaranteed to make the postseason. These Chris Paul trade rumors might also take a back seat if the Cavs make a move to trade Kevin Love first.
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