What If Chris Paul went to the Lakers?

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Credits: Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images
Credits go to: Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

The Lakers were so close to grabbing a star to pair with Kobe Bryant in Los Angeles.

No, not Dwight Howard. Chris Paul. You guys probably know about that. The Lakers were able to acquire star PG, Chris Paul in a three-team trade with the Rockets. Unexpectedly, however, David Stern vetoed the trade because the Hornets were not getting enough value in return. This led to Chris Paul being dealt to the Clippers instead of the Lakers and this just changed the NBA’s landscape as we know it. 

How exactly did this change the NBA? Sit back, relax, and enjoy the roller coaster of the Chris Paul Laker Saga.

*This was somewhat of a continuation of our previous NBA What If. Click here if you wanna check that out.*

The what?

You may know that Chris Paul was traded to the Lakers. What you may not know is what the actual deal was. Let us break it down for you. It was a three-team trade. Lakers, New Orleans Hornets, and Rockets. Lakers got the main player, CP3. Houston got Pau Gasol. The Hornets received Luis Scola, Lamar Odom, Goran Dragic, Kevin Martin, and a pick. 

Infographic via: Scout.com
This was the original trade that was eventually vetoed. Infographic via: Scout.com

The what if?

So what if this trade actually went down officially? Well, let’s look at the Lakers first. 

The Lakers, who now have a superstar PG to pair with superstar, Kobe Bryant now have a big three of Paul, Bryant, and Bynum. A big three very capable of winning a championship. The Lakers would be happy with that hypothetical big three, but they won’t stop there. Remember, the Dwight Howard saga was beginning to take place during Chris Paul’s saga. Dwight Howard was beginning to show frustration with the Orlando Magic and didn’t mind being traded. The Lakers, in the original scenario, was in the talks for a Bynum for Howard trade after they got Chris Paul unofficially. So if the CP3 trade did go down, then let’s assume that the Lakers still try to get Howard. Eventually, they do get Howard. Trading away Bynum and a couple of other players. 

That gives the Lakers a star-studded big three of Dwight, Paul, and Bryant. Could they have won 2-3 championships? Possibly. Let’s say they win at least two championships. Kobe would have 7 rings to surpass Michael Jordan. Chris Paul and Dwight Howard would have finally tasted championship glory. Everyone in Lakers nation basks in Laker glory. 

The addition of Chris Paul and Dwight Howard (pre-back injury) lessens the workload for an aging Kobe Bryant. Less workload for Kobe means that he doesn’t have to play as much which might mean he doesn’t rupture his Achilles. Maybe we could still see Kobe on the hardwood floor this season. 

Basically, everything goes well for the Los Angeles Lakers. 

Credits: Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images
How many rings could they have won? Photo credits go to: Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

What happens to the Hornets?

Since they received solid players in the deal, that would mean that their record won’t be high lottery worthy. That means they won’t be able to land the #1 overall pick the 2012 draft. Which means that Anthony Davis won’t be a Hornet to begin with. He could be in Washington with the Wizards or even Charlotte with the Bobcats.

Either way, the Hornets might have been stuck in the playoff bubble. Potentially without a superstar to carry their team going forward.

I think Hornets (Pelicans) fans liked they way the original scenario played out. 

What about the Rockets?

Well, since they got Pau Gasol in the trade, they have someone to replace the void Yao Ming left when he retired. They would also have less assets in the team. Why is that a big deal? Fast forward to the 2012 offseason. Harden declined OKC’s contract offer and OKC decided that they would trade the Beard. As you know, they traded him to the Rockets. However, in this scenario, they can’t trade for the future MVP candidate because of a lack of assets to trade. 

Harden potentially stays put in OKC, where the Thunder keep their core of Westbrook, Durant, and Harden. Could that trio of players have won a championship together as well. They probably could. If so, does that mean Durant leaves OKC to join the Warriors? (We’ll cover this next topic.)

Like the Pelicans, I think the Rockets prefer the original scenario. Thunder fans want this alternate scenario. Sorry, Thunder fans.

Photo via: Rocky Widner/NBAE/Getty Images
Could this three have won a championship? Photo via: Rocky Widner/NBAE/Getty Images

How about the rest of the NBA?

Of course a trade like this will affect more than three teams. Teams like the Raptors and Clippers do get affected by the alternate timeline (The Flash Tv Show reference). How do the Raptors get affected? Well, with the Lakers already with Chris Paul that means they won’t have to sign Steve Nash in the 2012 offseason meaning he goes to Toronto. That means Kyle Lowry is not a Raptor. Could he possibly be in Houston? 

The Clippers, now without Chris Paul, keep Eric Bledsoe on the team since they still need a PG. Bledsoe doesn’t go to the Suns. 

 Recapping the scenario:

-Chris Paul is a Laker. Along with Dwight Howard.

-Anthony Davis is probably a Hornet or a Wizard.

-James Harden is still a member of the Thunder with Durant and Westbrook. 

-Kyle Lowry might be a Rocket. Steve Nash would be in Toronto. That means the backcourt pair of Lowry and DeRozan is not a thing and the Raptors might be stuck in the lottery. No offense to Steve Nash.

-The Pelicans might just be a playoff bubble team. 

-Eric Bledsoe is still a Clipper. Since the Clippers don’t have Chris Paul.

-We could see a couple of LeBron James vs. Kobe Bryant match-ups in the NBA Finals. Oh what could’ve been.

-The Thunder big three could have a championship together. Does that mean Durant stays? 

-Kobe could have 7 rings. Surpassing his idol, Michael Jordan. 

Yes guys, a lot of crazy stuff could’ve happened in the NBA. If only David Stern didn’t veto that trade.

*Feature Photo credits go to: Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images*

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