A recent report from Sporting News suggests that several NBA teams, including the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks, could attempt to trade for Houston Rockets point guard Chris Paul in the upcoming 2019 offseason.
On Thursday, ESPN‘s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that, per league sources, Rockets general manager Daryl Morey has made everyone on the team — as well as future draft picks — available for trade. Regarding the possibility of the Rockets’ top players getting traded, Wojnarowski added that it isn’t too likely that All-NBA guard James Harden would be shipped to another team in the 2019 offseason, but stressed that players such as Paul and center Clint Capela could be “more realistic” targets for interested teams.
While it was also noted that the Rockets might not receive much in return for Paul, who, at 34-years-old, has three years and $124 million remaining on his contract, subsequent rumors have suggested that there are quite a few teams that could make a move for the nine-time All-Star. In an article originally published on Friday, Sean Deveney of Sporting News named the Charlotte Hornets and Miami Heat as two teams that “could be interested” in trading for Paul, with the Phoenix Suns having an “outside chance” of making an offer as they consider their options at the point guard position.
Aside from those teams, Deveney added that the Lakers and Knicks could also come into play, as there’s a chance either team would “strike out” in free agency. He pointed out that Chris Paul could turn out to be a “face-saving trade target” for both teams, given how he remains “useful” as a proven, experienced veteran who could still be effective as a pick-and-roll point guard.
The Lakers are going to take a big swing in free agency.— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) June 1, 2019
But if they miss out, Chris Paul reportedly could be a "face-saving trade target" for L.A. ???? (via @Schrock_And_Awe)https://t.co/FAc1DRmDrM pic.twitter.com/b8UzJJPV4x
Despite the possibility that all of the above teams may be interested in trading for Paul, Deveney also explained that there could be some caveats to consider. He opined that Paul has lost a step in recent years, noting that the veteran point guard averaged just 15.6 points and 8.2 assists and shot only 41.9 percent from the field and 35.8 percent from three-point range in the 2018-19 season. And regardless of which team Paul ends up with if he gets traded, there’s also the possibility the Rockets might not get much in return for an aging star with an expensive contract.
“But Houston is not going to get anything significant back from any of those teams, nothing that will truly benefit Harden. [Heat players] Goran Dragic and Kelly Olynyk? [Hornets players] Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Nic Batum? Empty space from New York?” Deveney wrote.
Regarding the chances of Paul joining the Lakers via trade, NBC Sports Bay Area separately reported that they seem to be a “long shot” at the moment, due to all the controversy surrounding the team. However, the outlet added that Paul could give superstar LeBron James “at least the appearance” of a reliable sidekick on offense, especially since the team went into an extended tailspin after the four-time MVP suffered a groin injury during Los Angeles’ Christmas Day game against the Golden State Warriors.