Warriors

NBA rumors: Chris Paul could be 'face-saving trade target' for Lakers

NBA rumors: Chris Paul could be 'face-saving trade target' for Lakers

While the Warriors try to solve Kawhi Leonard and the Toronto Raptors in the NBA Finals, two of the Dubs' biggest rivals -- the Rockets and LeBron James -- are sitting at home trying to figure out a way to match the two-time defending champions.

With the Rockets trying to revamp their team to better combat the Warriors, and the Lakers trying to find another star to pair with James, there's a chance the two teams' offseason plans could converge this summer. 

As ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported, the Rockets are currently putting every player, except James Harden, on the trading block in an attempt to build a better team around the 2018 NBA MVP. If Houston has any hope of giving Harden more to work with, the Rockets likely would need to find a way to move Chris Paul and the massive four-year, $160 million contract he signed last summer. 

For most teams, taking on Paul's contract would be a complete non-starter. But the Lakers, should they strike out in free agency, could be one of the few teams interested a Paul trade, according to Sporting News' Sean Deveney.

"Charlotte and Miami are among the teams that could be interested in Paul, " Deveney writes. "Phoenix is weighing its options at point guard, but there is an outside chance they'd get involved. And keep an eye on the Lakers or Knicks - it's likely that one of them will strike out in free agency and need a face-saving trade to rescue the summer. Paul is a face-saving trade target."

Hey, having half of the banana-boat crew in L.A. would be appealing to James, right? At least they could have really killer wine parties starting in April.

The Lakers, of course, will have their eyes on bigger fish to begin the summer, as the Purple and Gold look to land either Leonard, Kyrie Irving, Klay Thompson or Jimmy Butler in free agency.

Should they strike out, though, the Lakers would have the cap space to absorb Paul's contract without having to match salaries, thus being able to retain their young core.

Paul, now 34, saw his play drop off this past season. He averaged just 15.6 points per game while shooting 41.9 percent from the floor and 35.8 percent from the 3-point line. His play in the pick-and-roll, also took a hit, as he scored just 0.87 points per 100 possessions in the pick-and-roll this season. That's down from the 1.02 points per 100 he netted in the pick-and-roll last season. 

The Lakers adding Paul, at least at the moment, feels like a long shot. 

Despite the dysfunction in L.A., the Lakers still have a puncher's chance at landing a marquee free agent, and it's still hard to see Houston pushing the eject button on the Harden-Paul tandem after just two seasons. 

But after two straight defeats at the hands of the Warriors, Harden and Paul had some chemistry issues, and now the Rockets are left looking for answers.

The Lakers have been searching for answers ever since James hurt his groin during a Christmas Day win over the Dubs, and Paul could give James the running mate he desires. Or at least the appearance of one.

[RELATED: LeBron fuels Kyrie-to-Lakers talk with Instagram activity]

The NBA summer is about to be wild.

Steph Curry's one-word answer when asked if Warriors will make playoffs

Steph Curry's one-word answer when asked if Warriors will make playoffs

Kevin Durant. Andre Iguodala. DeMarcus Cousins. Shaun Livingston. What do they have in common?

None of them play for the Warriors anymore.

Klay Thompson is expected to miss a large portion of the season as he recovers from a torn left ACL. Combine all of this with the fact the Western Conference is insanely loaded, and you got people who believe the Dubs will either struggle to make the playoffs or miss the postseason altogether.

Steph Curry played in the American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe over the weekend, and had the following interaction with Marcus Thompson of The Athletic:

The break in the action on the 16th hole was coming to an end. Curry’s turn was near, leaving time for one final question.

Are the Warriors making the playoffs?

He was almost through the word “facts” when he realized it was a question and not a statement. Suddenly, his calm expression disappeared. His face scrunched and his voice elevated above a whisper, adding a shriek for emphasis.

“What?!” he said, playfully agitated by the sheer audacity of the question. “What?!”

The Warriors have reached the playoffs seven straight years. They've appeared in five consecutive NBA Finals, winning three titles.

Curry is a two-time MVP and is on the short list of best players in the NBA. Draymond Green is incredible and always will be underrated.

Golden State added 23-year old D'Angelo Russell, who averaged 21.1 points and 7.0 assists last season en route to making his first All-Star Game.

[RELATEDWarriors didn't sign Russell just to trade him, Myers says]

Head coach Steve Kerr and general manager Bob Myers still are onboard. 

Be careful doubting the Dubs.

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NBA2K20 ratings: Warriors' Steph Curry, Klay Thompson ranked in top 15

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USATSI

NBA2K20 ratings: Warriors' Steph Curry, Klay Thompson ranked in top 15

Who is the best player in the NBA?

If you asked five different people, you might get five different answers. But where's the fun in that?

Enter the NBA2K video game series. 

The ratings for the top 20 players in the new NBA2K20 game were unveiled Monday, and while it's hard to argue with the players that were included, there's naturally plenty of controversy regarding their respective rankings.

For instance, Warriors fans might feel like Steph Curry belongs in the top five. NBA2K20 disagrees. 

Curry came in as the No. 6 ranked players in NBA2K20 with an overall rating of 95, just behind Houston's James Harden and Brooklyn's Kevin Durant (both 96 overall). 

Rounding out the top three: reigning league MVP Giannis Antetokounpo (96 overall), reigning Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard (97 overall), and finally, the Lakers' LeBron James (97 overall).

Just like his fellow backcourt mate, one could make the case Golden State's Klay Thompson is underrated as well. With an overall rating of 89, Thompson comes in at No. 14 in the player rankings.

While you can quibble with the Splash Brothers' overall rankings, you can't when it comes to their specialized skill sets. Out of all the players in NBA2K20, Curry and Thompson are ranked as the two best 3-point shooters, respectively. Curry has the maximum 3-point shooting rating possible (99), while Thompson isn't far behind at 97. 

Now, the most pressing NBA2K20 ratings question remaining: Where the heck is Draymond Green?