We’re a few months shy of the 6-year anniversary of the Lakers being denied Chris Paul by the NBA. Who can forget that December moment in 2011? It was a chaotic 96 hours. The season was a memorable one – strike-shortened to 66 games; the Thunder broke through to the Finals – but it was also the last time the Lakers won a round in the playoffs.
Who knows what direction the franchise goes if the Chris Paul trade had happened. Do the Lakers cave to Kobe’s ridiculous contract demands in 2013, a move that hurt the team? Do they become a free agent destination with one of the game’s best point guards? Do they pass on Steve Nash and Dwight Howard? It’s a fun game to play at your local drinking establishment.
Over the weekend, we got our first whiff of more trouble for the rapidly-rising Lakers: Tampering allegations over Paul George. The allegations from the Pacers are probably nothing. But if the NBA were to find that something untoward happened, and they don’t let the Lakers sign him … well, you can kiss LeBron goodbye, too.
The idea of LA adding LeBron + Paul George to a team of young (read: cheap) talent means that yes, they’d become Championship contenders overnight. George becomes that guy on the wing to defend Kevin Durant in the Western Conference Finals, they’d have an unselfish point guard in Lonzo Ball, and a legit 3rd scorer in Brandon Ingram.
They’d be the most dominant team the franchise has had since Shaq led the Lakers to three titles over 15 years ago. Huge market.
I find it very difficult to believe that the NBA is going to prevent this from happening. My guess is, worst case scenario: A sizeable fine, maybe a docking of a 2nd round draft pick, but Paul George-to-the-Lakers happens 11 months from now.