Tuesday , Aug , 09 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Lakers Targetting Chris Paul?

With the Lakersshowing more signs that their basketball mileage is catching up with them, they need to inject speed into their lineup. And with Mike Brown planning to abandon most of the triangle offense, they need a solid point guard. … [Chris Paul] has the edge over [Deron Williams] because of his youth (26) and uncanny speed.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: With the 2012 season in limbo, many have turned to speculating on next year’s free agent class.

One rumour keeps making the rounds: Chris Paul walks on the New Orleans Hornets to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers next July.

Before you roll your eyes at the new Collective Bargaining Agreement for not fixing the migration of stars to big markets, recognize that this makes sense for Paul.

The Lakers will have financial flexibility. They have $67 million in committed salary for the 2012-13 season, but the club holds options on $25 million for Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom.

While they won’t walk on Bynum, the purple-and-gold will gladly bolt on the final $8 million on Odom’s pact. There are other ways to trim salary.

Regardless of the system – hard or soft cap – the Lakers will be able to make a competitive offer for Paul.

New coach Mike Brown will replace the Triple-Post with a drive-and-kick system that relies on the point guard penetrating and running pick-and-rolls.

Sounds perfect for Paul, right?

The New Orleans Hornets can’t afford Paul. The league owns the team and the city can’t generate enough revenue to pay for a top supporting cast.

So it’s generally accepted that Paul will leave New Orleans and join Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire in New York.

Not so fast.

Last I checked the Knicks played in the Eastern Conference. Each year, Paul would have to go through Miami’s Three Kings to reach the NBA Finals.

And when the Heat have a down year, Paul would likely face 2010 MVP Derrick Rose and his upstart Chicago Bulls. The Bulls, with their air-tight defense, are no pushovers.

So Paul’s best bet at championship glory may be out west with the Lakers.

–Oly Sandor.

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