First and foremeost, no Los Angeles Lakers fans; you’re not getting Chris Paul. But the market for Paul going into his ninth season as NBA player. He’s as elite a point guard as they come and with probably 3-4 years left in his prime he’ll have a nice market once free agency begins. The question is where he’ll end up. Though the masses think he’ll return to the Los Angeles Clippers there are a few teams out there that could use Chris Paul’s services. Here are four teams Paul could be playing for come October:
Los Angeles Clippers
The Clips are the perennial favorites as I stated before. Coming off their best year in franchise history, the Clippers have the tools to be a contender in the league. The problem is that Vinny Del Negro is holding them back in ways unimaginable. He’ll return to a team that features Blake Griffin, Jamal Crawford and DeAndre Jordan. This core doesn’t scream championship, but with the right person heading the ship there could be a chance. Also the Clippers can offer Paul $30 million more than anyone else in the league can. For a guard who’s had numerous knee troubles this may be his best chance to cash out and contend before his prime years are over with.
Paul could probably end up in Dallas or Atlanta if superstar Dwight Howard joins him. And if D12 does, then Dallas is a far more attractive destination than Atlanta. Dallas is a better basketball market, has an owner in Mark Cuban who’s willing to spend whatever’s necessary to win and a proven star in Dirk Nowitzki to be the third wheel. A Paul-Howard-Al Horford combination would be solid, the biggest knack on playing in the Eastern conference is that you have to go through the 4-time MVP in Lebron James just to get to the NBA Finals. Most would be better off meeting him there instead of having to go through him. Dirk has stated that he’d be willing to take a pay cut so Howard and Paul could join the team, so there’s a chance these three could be Big 3 West if the Clippers slip up and let him walk.
Would you be surprised if Daryl Morey pulls this one off? Not at all. I’m not sure how James Harden would co-exist nor am I sure that this team’s current roster + Paul is better than the current Clippers roster, so that may be problematic. But Paul/Harden would become the best backcourt in basketball and pose a threat in the Western Conference. Often the Rockets problem was that they couldn’t get anything going when Harden wasn’t being amazing. The Rockets were one piece from beating a Russell Westbrook-less Oklahoma City Thunder team and even when Westbrook was playing they kept it close. Chris Paul’s talent is good enough to push them out of the first round, but overall team depth may be a problem when it’s time to start thinking Finals.