Chris Paul is on a MASSIVE contract and showed obvious signs of decline in the 2018-19 NBA season. Over the next 3 seasons, Chris Paul is owed about $124 million total. His cap hits look like this:
Age 34 (2019-2020): $38,506,482
Age 35 (2020-2021): $41,358,814
Age 36: (2021-2022): $44,211,146 (Player Option)
That is a lot of money for an aging veteran hitting an obvious decline. They need to trade him and try to get rid of that contract as soon as they can. The value Chris Paul had is no longer there. Before they could acquire a young star, proven veteran role players, and solid draft pick or two at least for him. As the year went on his value went down so much, especially with his contract, where they might get a question mark type player, and a protected/late first round draft pick. Maybe another veteran role player as well. Here are 5 possible teams that could be willing to take in that contract:
1. Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers are, in my opinion, the most likely to deal for Paul. There have been many rumors about them trying to ship away current starting point guard, Lonzo Ball. Making the way for a need at starting point guard. Lakers have enough to sign a top tier Free Agent, or acquire a max contract through trade. A possible trade could be centered around last year’s first round pick Mortiz Wagner, guard Josh Hart, and future draft pick(s). LeBron James and Chris Paul are close friends and have been rumored for years they would love to team up. They have the cap space to make it happen. I am sure the Lakers want to keep LeBron happy, and if that means acquiring Chris Paul, I am sure they would attempt a deal. Chris Paul probably won’t be high up on their list for players to acquire, but I am sure he is a possible fallback option for them if they can’t land one of the top Free Agents this summer.
2. Miami Heat
The Heat are in a weird spot. They have some young talent, like Josh Richardson, Justise Winslow, Bam Adebayo, Derrick Jones Jr, and they hold this year’s 13th overall pick. They also have a lot of shaky contracts. They signed Dion Waiters, James Johnson, Kelly Olynyk all to 4-year deals 2 summers ago. Each making $14 million plus per season. There have been rumblings that since the Heat don’t have the cap to sign anyone this summer, they would explore the trade market. They have the contracts and asssets to get a deal done. Goran Dragic and Hassan Whiteside both have player options they are likely to accept that are worth around $19 million and $24 million respectively. With all those other veteran role players on bigger salaries, and holding the 13th overall pick, they have assets to make a trade happen. I would think Dragic, Olynyk or Waiters, and the 13th pick or a future pick to Houston for Chris Paul would be a likely trade here.
3. Boston Celtics
This is a stretch. But it is very possible the Celtics lose Kyrie Irving AND Terry Rozier this offseason, leaving a hole at point guard. This would be a bad contract for bad contract trade. As it would likely be a trade centered around Hayward and CP3. Brad Stevens is a great head coach and I think would get 3 productive years from Chris Paul. They have some assets to get a deal done, like Hayward, 3 first round picks in this year’s NBA draft. A deal is possible. This would be a good fit for Paul as he would play out the rest of his career with a true contender and could help young players like Smart, Tatum, and Brown develop. A possible trade could look like, Gordon Hayward, one of their three first round picks, for Chris Paul.
4. New York Knicks
It would not be an NBA off season without hearing the Knicks attached to every big name player on the market. Chris Paul could very well wind up in New York this summer. If the rumors are true, CP3 could very well be playing at the garden with Kevin Durant next year. Which could be a solid pairing. The Knicks have more cap space than any other team in the league. They can acquire two players on a max contract. They have some pieces they could trade like Dennis Smith Jr, Frank Ntilikina, and Kevin Knox. Though I doubt Knicks would trade last year’s promising rookie for an aging veteran. IF the Knicks land KD. They for sure would want to add another star with him. Frank Ntilikina has been reportedly unhappy in New York and wants out, a trade involving him and CP3 is totally possible. A possible trade could be Ntilikina, Smith Jr, and some fill ins in exchange for CP3. I highly doubt the Knicks would give up pick 3 in exchange for Paul, but they are the Knicks so who knows.
5. Phoenix Suns
The only small market team on this list. The Suns went from having 3 all-star caliber to point guards a few seasons ago, to barely have someone worth starting. The Suns are a young team with Booker and Ayton leading a young core, adding a veteran like Chris Paul could help them develop. The Suns are rumored to be shopping Josh Jackson, and guard Tyler Johnson has a $20 million player option he is likely to excersise. A deal centered around those two could be possible. A likely trade in the scenario the Paul is dealt to Phoenix, would be Josh Jackson, Tyler Johnson, and Maybe TJ Warren for Chris Paul and another cheap role player. This is the only small market team I can see being interested in Paul.