What some hinted at last week after reports surfaced about a rift between Chris Paul and James Harden is now even closer to becoming a reality.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news on Wednesday morning that the Houston Rockets are making Chris Paul and basically anybody else not named James Harden available for a trade.
The possibility of trading All-NBA guard James Harden is believed to be extremely limited, but the rest of the roster – including even Chris Paul and Clint Capela – could be more realistic trade targets for teams, sources said.
Obviously with Chris Paul being one of LeBron’s best friends in the NBA, the speculation has run rampant about the Lakers potentially dealing for him. But while LeBron may want that, the biggest question will be whether the Lakers current power structure does. And most of the rhetoric coming from that side of the Lakers organization has indicated a concern about “oversize superstardom.” Paul seems to fit the description of what the new Lakers regime is trying to avoid, but they’ve contradicted themselves plenty before.
Paul is 34 and has three years and $124 million remaining on his contract, including a player option in 2021-22 worth nearly $45 million. Yes, Paul is widely known as LeBron’s best friend in the league today, but we must remember his history when considering a trade or a move for a friend of his.
James’ basketball alliances have always been more pragmatic than his friendships. Let’s remember that this is the same James who in the summer of 2014 let Dwyane Wade opt out of $20 million, only to go back to Cleveland to play with a younger stable of players in Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson.
Although the young Lakers got injured and faltered without him last year, his track record shows he usually believes in upside when it becomes to picking his teammates.