Chris Paul has put forth an impressive NBA career that will one day land in him the Hall of Fame. It has been filled with many memorable moments that have further cemented Paul‘s status as one of the greatest point guards in league history. However, there were a few months that could have changed the path of his career entirely. One of those scenarios is one that Paul still holds much anger over it not coming to fruition.
Chris Paul’s NBA career
Since entering the NBA as the fourth overall pick in the 2004 NBA draft, Chris Paul has been one of the league’s best point guards.
Paul has put forth an illustrious career that has seen him earn numerous accolades such as 10 All-Star Game selections, four All-NBA First Team nods, three All-NBA Second Team selections, seven All-Defensive First Team selections, two All-Defensive Second Team nominations, and a Rookie of the Year award. He has also led the league in assists four times and steal on six occasions.
The 35-year-old has found a career rebirth with the Oklahoma City Thunder this season that has seen him re-establish himself as still one of the top point guards in the league. However, one move in his career didn’t happen that he still has him fuming.
Chris Paul still angered by a failed trade
Through his first six seasons in the league with the then-Hornets, Chris Paul had run his course with the franchise. He made it clear that to the front office that he wasn’t going to remain a long-term piece of the puzzle in New Orleans.
That shifted things dramatically toward the Hornets finding a new home for their star point guard to get something in return before his departure. During the lockout ahead of the 2011-12 season on December 8, 2011, the team had agreed to a three-team trade with the Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets that would have allowed Paul to play alongside Kobe Bryant.
However, the rest of the league’s owners, led by Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, raised their concerns that resulted in commissioner David Stern stepping in to veto the trade due to “basketball reasons” since the franchise had no owner at the moment. It’s a failed move that still frustrates Paul to this day as he had already spoken to Bryant about teaming up as he stated on the “Knuckleheads” podcast. (H/T Silver Screen & Roll)
“I was on the phone with my brother and my agent, and all that. We figuring out a plane to get to New Orleans to get us to LA … let’s just say my agent clicked over, said hold on, clicked over and then he came back on and he was like, stuttering. And we was hot. We was hot. Me and Kobe had talked, you know what I’m saying? We had talked already and all that. And it was a lot. It was a lot.”
It’s a situation that still has many Lakers fans bristling at what could have been with Paul alongside Bryant in the next chapter of his career.
What would have been for Chris Paul?
It’s a move that could have altered the course of not only Chris Paul’s career, but also of Kobe Bryant.
That could have been the precursor to Los Angeles also landing Dwight Howard, who wound being traded to the franchise not long after that failed deal. At the time, Bryant was still playing at an elite level, which the arrival of Paul and Howard could have changed the course of his career.
It could have put him on the track to compete for more NBA titles and may not have thrown his body to his breaking point that came two seasons later. There is much that could have changed, but it will always be looked upon as what could have been for Paul and especially the Lakers had the deal gone through.