In the opinion of one basketball insider, the Los Angeles Clippers might be a logical landing spot for Chris Paul.
ESPN’s Zach Lowe said (at the 48:50 mark) on his podcast that if Paul is dealt by the Phoenix Suns, the Clippers could be the team that acquires him, with changes in the league’s collective bargaining agreement coming soon.
“Lots of teams that can use Chris Paul for a short-term contract that you can get out of after one year,” Lowe said. “And I mention the aggregation thing only because of one team I would look at. And this is through no reporting. I have no inside sources. The Clippers have telegraphed that they think they need a point guard to run their team.”
Lowe’s reference to the “aggregation thing” deals with new trading rules that begin after the end of next season. One of the teams that would be affected by the changes is the Clippers.
Paul’s career is winding down at age 38, with the veteran recently completing his 18th NBA season. His current contract has two more years to run at just under $31 million for each year.
However, for now, Paul’s contract is only guaranteed for $15.8 million next season. If he’s not released by June 28 of this year, next season’s contract becomes fully guaranteed.
Should the Clippers trade for Paul, they could conceivably release him before June 28, 2024. That’s because the final year of Paul’s deal becomes fully guaranteed if he isn’t released by that date.
Paul spent six seasons with the Clippers from 2011 to 2017. In June 2017, Paul was dealt to the Houston Rockets and then spent time with the Oklahoma City Thunder before being traded to the Suns in November 2020.
During his first year with the Suns, Paul nearly led the team to the franchise’s first NBA title. The near miss was even more frustrating for the veteran, who has yet to be part of an NBA championship team.
The Suns appear ready to focus the team’s offense on Devin Booker and Kevin Durant, which makes Paul a bit expendable. One of the reasons for that expected change is the recent dismissal of former Suns head coach Monty Williams.
Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue would no doubt welcome the return of Paul, as it would bolster the team’s backcourt for the immediate future.
While Paul could indeed end up with the Clippers during the offseason, it remains to be seen if that will come to fruition.