Since news broke that the Thunder may be looking to move Chris Paul, some have connected the point guard to the Lakers given his close friendship with LeBron James. Fans hoping to construct Team Banana Boat may be disappointed to learn about the numerous hurdles the Lakers have to overcome to acquire Paul.
The only real options for the Lakers to trade in return for Paul is James or Anthony Davis, which is not happening. Since the majority of the Lakers roster was signed this offseason, they have to wait until at least December to be traded again based on CBA Rules as Hoops Rumors detailed.
Not every player who signed a free agent contract in the offseason had their trade restrictions lifted on December 15. For a select handful of players, that date will be January 15 instead.
These players all meet a specific set of criteria: Not only did they re-sign with their previous team this offseason, but they got a raise of at least 20%, their salary is worth more than the minimum, and their team was over the cap, using Bird or Early Bird rights to sign them…
Technically, the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement states that a player who signs a free agent contract can’t be traded for three months or until December 15, whichever comes later. Most big-name free agents sign new contracts in July, so we default to December 15 in those cases.
While the Lakers need to wait until December to make a trade happen, the Thunder appears intent on finding a resolution for Paul’s situation before the season starts. Even if the Thunder were willing to wait, the Lakers would need to send back enough salaries to come close to Paul’s $38.6 million.
This is yet another barrier for the Lakers to overcome if they wanted to acquire Paul. Taking on Paul’s contract also prohibits the Lakers from being active in free agency over the next three offseasons. Realistically, the only likely way the Lakers land Paul is through a buyout.