LeBron James’ friendship with Chris Paul has been well-documented, but it has taken on an added meaning given the Los Angeles Lakers may have a point guard vacancy pending Dennis Schroder’s free-agent decision this summer. Paul’s contract with the Suns runs through 2022, but the point guard has a player option that if exercised would allow him to hit free agency this offseason. James recently took to Instagram to wish Paul a happy birthday calling the point guard, “my brother from another.”
“Happy Bday to my brother from another!!” James said on Instagram. “Been down for a long time my G! Wishing you the best of times on your day today. Long Live You CP3 aka Point God!! Love ♾. @cp3 🙏🏾✊🏾🖤👑. Giving you your 💐 while you can smell them!”
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Paul on His Future: ‘This Summer, I Have No Clue’
Paul is set to make $44.2 million next season, so it is not a guarantee that he will test the free-agent waters. Given his stellar season, Paul could opt out in hopes of landing a long-term contract.
The 36-year-old point guard is averaging 16.2 points, 8.8 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 1.4 steals this season. During an April interview with The Athletic’s Sam Amick, Paul admitted he has “no clue” what he will do this summer.
“I mean first and foremost, I love it here [Phoenix],” Paul told The Athletic. “I don’t know how many years I’ve got left. I don’t really think about that either. I feel too good. Seriously, this summer, I have no clue. As much as I’m involved in the union and stuff like that, I don’t know what anybody’s teams are, (what their) caps are, I don’t know none of that stuff. I just play. And like I say, I’m lucky to have my brother, my brother who helps. I focus on playing.”
Stephen A. Smith Reported in 2020 That CP3 Did Not Want to ‘Ring Chase’ with the Lakers
Given all the hurdles, Paul’s chances of wearing a Lakers uniform next season are slim but not outside the realm of possibilities. According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, Schroder turned down the Lakers’ four-year, $84 million contract extension offer earlier this season. Schroder will be a free agent this offseason, and the Lakers need a contingency plan if they are not able to re-sign their starting point guard.
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith reported in November 2020 that Paul had no desire to join James with the Lakers as he viewed it as ring chasing. This was days before Paul was traded to the Suns, so there is a chance the point guard could have a change of heart a year later, especially if Los Angeles has an early playoff exit.
“CP3 does not want to go to the Lakers,” Smith said on First Take in November 2020. “I do not know the reasons why. I deduce from what I’ve heard, that the reasons he does not want to go to the Lakers is because [they’re] already established, they’re already accomplished. There’s really nothing to do for them. They would only be doing something for him, and that is ring chasing, and that’s not the kind of ring chasing that he wants to be a part of, in terms of stacking the deck. He’d rather go someplace where he can be himself and be the leader that he is. If he goes to the Lakers, he’s taking the ball out of LeBron James’ hands.”