With the potential of Chris Paul being waived by the Suns, the Lakers now have a plethora of options to choose from for point guard next season.
So let’s explore some of the most viable options below and some popular rumors.
There were rumors earlier in the week that Phoenix had waived Chris Paul, but this hasn’t happened. Yet.
The franchise is in discussions with Paul about his future and they are reportedly weighing up whether to waive, stretch or trade the veteran guard.
“And if Paul’s only option to return to Phoenix is on the veteran’s minimum, what’s to stop the savviest veteran of them all from taking that identical salary from a team like the Lakers? He has family ties in Los Angeles, not to mention a long-standing friendship with LeBron James,” Yahoo Sports Jake Fischer wrote.
It is possible the Suns could work with LA and draw up a sign-and-trade deal that would send D’Angelo Russell to Phoenix for Paul, according to Fischer.
“For Los Angeles and Phoenix, losing Russell by free agency or waiving Paul would sacrifice a $30 million salary slot that feels all the more precious while staring down a daunting new second tax apron in the league’s upcoming collective bargaining agreement,” Fischer said.
Until June 28 when Paul’s $30.8 million salary becomes guaranteed, it looks like it will just be rumors and speculation about his fate.
New Phoenix coach Frank Vogel, for his part, said he wants Paul to stay at the franchise next season so they can win a championship together.
“I know he’s very motivated by that and I’m very motivated to be the guy that helps him get there,” Vogel said. “I’m very interested in coaching Chris and Chris being back with us. I’ve communicated that to him.”
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that it is Paul’s preference to stay and “partner with close friend Devin Booker and Kevin Durant…” but he may not be able to.
Fred Van Vleet to the Lakers isn’t new but his name is definitely included in the list of point guards the Lakers should consider.
“When you look at the market place this upcoming offseason, I think Kyrie Irving and Fred VanVleet have to be at the top of the list,” NBA Insider Shams Charania said recently. “I’m not saying either are likely for the Lakers, but I think if you’re the Lakers, you have to look at both of those guys and see if there are any options you can exhaust.”
29-year-old Van Vleet is entering the final year of his four-year $85 million deal and has an upcoming player option.
Van Vleet is also a Klutch client, the same as LeBron and Anthony Davis and has Finals and All-Star experience, as well as a championship under his belt.
The seven-year NBA veteran averaged 19.3 points, 4.1 rebounds and 7.3 assists per game on 39.3 percent shooting from the field this season.
Despite the Lakers declaring they have no interest in Kyrie Irving, the rumors continue.
Dallas have “signaled little willingness to entertain a possible sign-and-trade for Irving with the Lakers,” Fischer reports.
Irving is eligible for a five-year contract worth over $270 million if he does resign with the Mavs.
The Lakers definitely couldn’t offer him that sort of compensation, so if he was to play for the purple and gold for the first time in his career, it would be at a discounted rate.
Of course, there were the wild rumors that Irving is recruiting LeBron to Dallas and we are talking about one of the most perplexing players in NBA history.
So who knows what Irving will decide.
Trae Young to the Lakers started to gain traction a couple of weeks back when he attended two Lakers playoffs games at Crypto.com Arena.
Plus, The Athletic’s Jovan Buha said the franchise has had “internal discussions” about what a “hypothetical trade offer” for Young could look like.
The bookmakers certainly think it’s a likely possibility. SportsBetting.ag say the Lakers are +125 favorites to land Young if he leaves Atlanta, while the next highest is the Chicago Bulls at +500.
The 24-year-old would certainly give the Lakers an edge offensively and if LeBron does continue playing next season, would help to manage his workload.
However, it wouldn’t be easy for the purple and gold to poach the Hawks best player, but maybe a deal involving Russell and potentially even Austin Reaves and some first-round picks may help things along.
With uncertainty around what Portland will do with their number three pick, Damian Lillard trade rumors are well and truly out there.
Lillard thinks the Lakers didn’t treat some of their veterans too well in the past, like Russell Westbrook, so he may be hesitant to go there.
“When Russ went to the Lakers, everybody was, ‘The Lakers!’ You know what I mean,” Dame said on The Last Stand. “Then they got Russ coming off the bench like he’s not a Hall of Famer. And try to put a battery in his back like, ‘Man, if you come off the bench, that’d be like.’ Man, that’s Russell Westbrook. Like, what?”
Lillard has expressed his desire to go to Miami if the Blazers do decide to blow it up.
So the Lakers seems to be an unlikely option at the moment, but you never know.
Despite his dip in form during the playoffs, Russell himself still remains a viable option for the Lakers this upcoming season.
His lackluster postseason performances may have even increased the chances that he’ll stay in LA because another rival team may not be that interested in him.
Lakers Insider Buha is predicting Los Angeles will sign the free agent over the summer.
“If he wants a certain number, whether it’s closer to $25 million, maybe you go shorter term and give two years, $50 million, and you’re on the same timeline as LeBron and Anthony Davis. … I suspect a two or three-year deal,” Buha said on the HoopsHype podcast. “I think re-signing him is the most likely outcome.”
The Lakers are very keen to retain Austin Reaves’ services and are willing to pay up to $100 million for him next season, reportedly.
Reaves will probably start at the one-guard but it interesting to note he has played point for the majority of his basketball career.
He has elite ball handling and passing skills which could certainly come in handy if Darvin Ham decides to mix things up.