Though they currently own the third-best record in the Western Conference, the Los Angeles Clippers are yet to live up to expectations from an NBA team that are considered the heavy favorite to bring home the Larry O’Brien Trophy in the 2019-20 NBA season. Aside from suffering multiple injuries, some people think that the Clippers still need to upgrade their current roster in order to have a better chance of fully dominating the Western Conference and winning the 2020 NBA championship title. One of the players that the Clippers could target on the trade market before the 2020 February NBA trade deadline is Chris Paul of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
In his recent article, Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report revealed the opinions of several league executives regarding what the Clippers should do before the 2020 February NBA trade deadline. One Western Conference executive believes that the Clippers should go after another playmaker and stop being too reliant on Lou Williams, Kawhi Leonard, and Paul George in running the floor. Despite how things ended between them in the summer of 2017, Pincus thinks that the Clippers should consider the possibility of bringing Paul back to Los Angeles to address their backcourt issue.
To acquire Paul, Pincus suggested that the Clippers could offer a trade package including Patrick Beverley and Maurice Harkless to the Thunder.
“The Clippers could get most of the way to Paul’s $38.5 million with Beverley and Harkless. At a minimum, they’d need to include a couple more players, such as Jerome Robinson and [Rodney] McGruder. The Thunder might have interest in [Montrezl] Harrell or [Ivica] Zubac, but as noted, the Clippers need to add inside, not subtract. Stranger things have happened. A core of Paul, George and Leonard would be tremendous both offensively and defensively. Paul would be a bold move. Do the Clippers want to pay a 34-year-old guard—one they have a history with—given the $85.6 million he’s due for the next two seasons.”
Paul may no longer be in his prime, but he is undeniably an upgrade over Beverley, giving the Clippers an All-Star caliber point guard and a very reliable scoring option next to Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. This season, Paul is still posting incredible numbers, averaging 16.7 points, 5.0 rebounds, 6.5 assists, and 1.6 steals while shooting 48.0 percent from the field and 36.6 percent from beyond the arc. Paul’s potential return to Los Angeles would immediately address the Clippers’ need of a playmaker who is very familiar with Coach Doc Rivers’ system.
Though it could affect their chances of earning a playoff spot in the deep Western Conference, the potential deal would also be somewhat beneficial for the Thunder. Aside from unloading Paul’s massive contract, the suggested trade would allow the Thunder to acquire two defensive-minded veterans that could help them with the development of their young players.