Ever since 2011, when the Los Angeles Clippers traded for All-Star point guard Chris Paul, they have been considered a title contender, yet they still have not even reached the Western Conference Finals. The Paul experiment in LA seems to have failed, even though they had a very hot start to the regular season and looked like they could have finally figured it out. This doesn’t mean that the Clippers will not bounce back once they are healthy (if they are ever completely healthy), but it does bring up some questions about the future of this team and Chris Paul especially.
— NBA (@NBA) December 29, 2016
With Paul’s contract expiring at the end of this season (if he declines his player option which is likely to do), he will become an unrestricted free agent, being able to choose where he wants to play next season. Paul will have many offers to look at, but these are the teams he should consider most.
New York Knicks
Who wouldn’t want to play alongside one of their best friends, especially when that friend is one of the best pure scorers in the league in Carmelo Anthony. Although Melo is getting older, his efficiency and PPG would both increase playing with the best floor general in the NBA in Paul.
Derrick Rose’s contract will also be up at the end of this season, so if the Knicks would rather make a run for Paul, there would be no controversy with playing time. Although a big three of Paul, Melo, and Porzingis may not be an instant title contender, it would certainly be one of the most interesting and entertaining teams in the NBA.
What is the one thing a young and talented team like the Timberwolves needs? A veteran presence to lead the squad, and other than LeBron, nobody can lead a team and run an offence like Paul. Yes, Minnesota just drafted Kris Dunn with the 5th overall pick in this past years’ NBA Draft, but they have proven that they don’t want to wait for him to develop as they continue to start Ricky Rubio at the point guard position.
With Minnesota’s young core of Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins, and Zach Lavine, the addition of Chris Paul would make them an absolute force in the Western Conference. Signing Paul also would mean they could trade Dunn and possibly Rubio for bench depth. Paul coming to a smaller market is unlikely, but this team would turn out to be a powerhouse for years to come.
San Antonio Spurs
Tony Parker is clearly aging and most people would agree that he is no longer a quality starting PG in this league. Who better to replace him than Chris Paul? Paul would be a great fit in a Spurs uniform playing along with two-time Defensive Player of the Year, Kawhi Leonard, and the mid-range god in LaMarcus Aldridge. With Paul’s ability to find his teammates open shots, the Spurs would likely become an even more lethal offense than they already are.
This move would instantly put the Spurs in Warriors and Cavs territory as the NBA’s powerhouses. If Paul doesn’t want to be known as one of the best players to never win a ring, San Antonio is probably his best option.
If Paul ends up switching teams in the offseason, he could make another coach around the NBA a very happy camper.