After falling to the Denver Nuggets in the NBA Playoffs, the Phoenix Suns continued to be bold and traded Chris Paul, Landry Shamet and an assortment of draft capital to the Washington Wizards for Bradley Beal. This is the first domino to fall this offseason and could bring Paul back to the Los Angeles Clippers for one last run.
At one point it seemed like the Clippers could be a potential suitor for Beal. However, that ultimately was not meant to be as Beal’s no-trade clause led him to Phoenix.
Shortly after the trade was reported, Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes reported that the Wizards are likely to reroute Paul via trade and that the Clippers are expected to pursue the future Hall of Famer. While it would have been nice to sign Paul on a cheaper deal, trading for him can keep the Los Angeles Lakers from having a chance of signing him.
Washington still has some leverage as the team can simply choose not to buy Paul out, so a trade may be necessary. Luckily for Clippers fans, the team has the perfect assortment of contracts to choose from to convince Washington to send Paul home.
The perfect Clippers trade package to bring Chris Paul back home:
The Clippers would technically be the third team in the trade package but the assets that Phoenix is sending Washington are irrelevant. Instead, the focus is just on what the Clippers would be sending Washington for Paul.
All Washington is going to want in return for Paul is expiring contracts and some light draft capital. The Clippers have several expiring contracts and there are multiple directions the team could take to get to the right salary figure to make this possible.
Regardless of which way the Clippers go, sending Robert Covington to Washington seems like a no-brainer. Covington was played out of the playoff rotation and his expiring contract is valuable to Washington. Plus, he is someone who has had value before so the Wizards may talk themselves into him increasing his value in Washington so he can be flipped for more assets at the deadline.
From there the Clippers can add a multitude of options. Los Angeles can either include Marcus Morris, Nicolas Batum, or Eric Gordon. Even though the Clippers just traded for Gordon, he seems like the most likely to go.
It will be easier for the Clippers to send one player in the frontcourt and one player in the backcourt rather than trading two players from the frontcourt. If the team were to trade both Covington and Morris, for example, it could cause regular-season depth problems.
However, with Paul’s arrival and the possibility for Bones Hyland to have a bigger role, the need for Gordon is not as large. If Norman Powell and Terrence Mann are healthy Gordon probably won’t have much of a role, anyway.