The Lakers are facing a conundrum at point guard with Dennis Schroder.
Re-signing him could be expensive. But if he leaves, the Lakers would be limited to the mid-level exception for signing a replacement.
According to sources, LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers have been on the hunt for a veteran point guard, and Paul is on the list. There have also been talks about Washington Wizards star Russell Westbrook being a potential candidate to move back home to Los Angeles in a sign-and-trade deal that could include free agent point guard Dennis Schroder, forward Kyle Kuzma and guard Talen Horton-Tucker, sources said.
Acquiring Paul would likely require a trade – either a sign-and-trade in the likely event he opts out or a standard trade if he’d opt in. A sign-and-trade would hard cap the Lakers, so it’d be easier if he were willing to opt in. Paul did that type of arrangement to get from the Clippers to the Rockets.
Westbrook could be more available – especially if the Wizards pivot into rebuilding. In that event they’d probably welcome unloading the 32-year-old due $91,274,624 over the next two seasons.
How badly would the Lakers want him, though? Spacing on a team with LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Westbrook would be substandard. As talented as Westbrook is, there would be significant diminishing returns adding him to LeBron and Davis. And that’s not even getting into how Westbrook will age.
Plus, Talen Horton-Tucker will also be a restricted free agent. Getting both Schroder and Horton-Tucker to agree to a sign-and-trade would be complicated.
So, don’t count on either Paul or Westbrook landing in Los Angeles.
But with big names involved, the Lakers are at least circling.