Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Chris Paul and Los Angeles Lakers small forward LeBron James, who are both members of the infamous Banana Boat crew, have dreamt of playing together in one team before they both retire as NBA players. Unfortunately, with limited trade assets that they could use for salary-matching purposes, it would be difficult for the Lakers to acquire Paul via trade in the 2020 NBA offseason. However, according to Davide Tovani of Fansided’s Lake Show Life, there is a way where the Lakers would allow Paul and James to join forces in Los Angeles without giving up any type of trade asset – the Amnesty Clause.
In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Tovani believes that the NBA owners and the NBPA may consider making some changes in the CBA and bring back the Amnesty Clause. The Amnesty Clause allows NBA teams to waive a player in a manner that would be beneficial for the owners. Though they would still be paying the player, his contract would no longer count against the NBA team’s salary cap space.
After undergoing the waiver process, the players would then be allowed to join another NBA team as an unrestricted free agent. With the team trying to get rid of Paul and massive contract since the 2019 NBA offseason, Tovani thinks that the Amnesty Clause would be a great idea for the Thunder.
“Enter the Oklahoma City Thunder, which, despite the unexpected season they are having, would gladly get rid of Chris Paul’s untradeable contract, that sees him still owed $41 million next season and $44 million the following one. This year they have the third-highest payroll in the league, with no real chances at the championship. Through the amnesty clause, OKC could free up massive cap space to carry on his rebuilding and free more playing time for his young players.”
Once the Thunder apply for the Amnesty Clause and let Paul walk away as an unrestricted free agent, James and the Lakers would not waste time to bring the veteran point guard to Los Angeles. Paul may already be 35, but he still has plenty of gas left in his tank. This season, Paul is averaging 17.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, 6.8 assists, and 1.6 steals while shooting 48.9 percent from the field and 36.2 percent from beyond the arc.
His arrival in Los Angeles would immediately address the Lakers’ need of another shot creator and playmaker alongside James. Paul isn’t expected to have a problem sharing the court with James and Anthony Davis since he already had an experience playing with two other superstars – Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan – with the Lakers’ Staples Center co-tenant, the Los Angeles Clippers.
Paul may look happy with the Thunder right now, but at this point in his NBA career, he would definitely love to spend his remaining years in the NBA playing for a legitimate title contender. However, before thinking of waiving Paul, the Thunder could first consider exploring the trade market for the veteran point guard. With his performance in the 2020-21 NBA season, the Thunder are expecting that they could get something valuable in return by trading Paul in the 2020 NBA offseason.