Could the Los Angeles Clippers possibly consider a trade that would reunite them with Chris Paul and have him team up with superstars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George? That was one of the scenarios considered earlier this week, in a report that suggested several trade ideas that could change the competitive balance in this year's NBA playoffs.
As discussed by Bleacher Report's Greg Swartz on Tuesday, Paul's lucrative contract is one of the main reasons why trading him from the Oklahoma City Thunder sounds very unlikely ahead of the February 6 deadline. However, he stressed that the Clippers are probably the best team to risk making such a move by acquiring the nine-time All-Star, who will be earning $41.4 million in the 2020-21 season and $44.1 million if he opts into the final year of his contract in 2021-22. Currently, the Clippers are ranked 24th in the league in assist percentage and 20th in assist-to-turnover ratio — two advanced stats where they should be doing better, considering the presence of high scorers such as George, Leonard, Lou Williams, and Montrezl Harrell.
According to Swartz, the Clippers could theoretically acquire Paul by trading four of their less-heralded players — guards Patrick Beverley and Rodney McGruder, forward Maurice Harkless, and center Ivica Zubac — to the Thunder. As these players would mostly be included for salary relief purposes, the Bleacher Report writer further proposed the inclusion of "additional draft compensation." Either way, he wrote, the deal would still allow Los Angeles to hang on to its top-scoring players while also allowing Oklahoma City to get some "usable" players in return.Although his numbers are slightly lower than the ones he put up with the Clippers from 2011 to 2017, Paul has enjoyed a resurgence of sorts with the Thunder, averaging 17.2 points, five rebounds, 6.4 assists, and 1.6 steals while shooting 48.3 percent from the field and 36.4 percent from three-point range, per Basketball-Reference.
As further pointed out by Bleacher Report, moving Paul back to the Clippers would allow the 34-year-old to "unlock" the team's already-potent offense, but more importantly, improve their chances of winning their first-ever NBA championship.
"A five-man unit of Paul, Williams, George, Leonard and Harrell may be the best in the NBA and would likely make the Clippers title favorites. It would also allow Paul to spend more time with his family, as his wife and children currently reside in L.A."The Clippers, however, aren't the only team that has recently been mentioned as a long shot to land Paul before the upcoming NBA trade deadline. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, the Philadelphia 76ers were also suggested as a potential destination, with the team hypothetically giving up center/forward Al Horford and multiple first-round draft picks to the Thunder in order to acquire the star point guard.