According to Stephen A. Smith, Chris Paul wants to be traded from the Rockets this summer and could potentially be interested in joining the Lakers.
There’s so much uncertainty surrounding the Rockets this summer. So far, Daryl Morey has made nearly the entire team available for trade, Mike D’Antoni and the Rockets can’t seem to agree on a contract extension, and Houston has been reportedly operating under the assumption that at least one of Clint Capela, Eric Gordon or P.J. Tucker will not be with the team next year.
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith just added more to the rumor mill.
Smith suggests that Paul’s preferred destination would be the Lakers, but admits he doesn’t know how LeBron James would feel about such a trade, assuming the Lakers consult James on important team moves.
Smith seems to be mostly speculating on Paul wanting to go to LA, but Smith was confident about the rumblings that Paul wants out of Houston, and Windhorst nodded his head in agreement, as if he has heard similar rumors from his sources.
After the Warriors eliminated the Rockets in Game 6 of the Western Conference Semifinals, James Harden and Chris Paul reportedly got into a heated verbal exchange in the locker room. It’s not uncommon for teammates to air out their disagreements, especially after a soul crushing loss, but you have to wonder if that has anything to do with this latest rumor.
Anthony Davis is the the best player on the trading block, and the Lakers are one of the frontrunners to land the six-time All-Star. Their number one focus will obviously be on using their trade assets to land Davis, and they will also want to keep their cap space free enough to pursue players like Klay Thompson and Jimmy Butler in free agency.
If Smith’ report is true, Paul might have to expand his list of preferred destinations in order to get out of Houston, especially since he still has three years left on his contract. He doesn’t have the leverage of Anthony Davis, who can become a free agent and leave for nothing in 2020 if the Pelicans don’t trade him.
After Stephen A. dropped a big piece of news, Brian Windhorst mentioned that trading Clint Capela or Eric Gordon would likely get the Rockets a better return than moving Chris Paul, considering the former players are both younger and are signed to more team-friendly contracts than the latter.
At this time of the year, a different report or rumor is coming out nearly everyday, and often times they contradict each other. If Stephen A. Smith’s sources are accurate, the Rockets could explore the market for Paul, but they would be in a better position to improve the team by moving Capela instead. Personally, I’m taking this particular rumor with a grain of salt.