Warriors coach Steve Kerr (L) and governor Joe Lacob


Warriors coach Steve Kerr (L) and governor Joe Lacob


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Head coach Steve Kerr (L) and governor Joe Lacob of the Golden State Warriors

Chris Paul‘s time with the Golden State Warriors is coming to an end as they are using him as a trade bait, according to The Athletic’s Anthony Slater.

“They’ve been actively searching for paths to larger-scale upgrades, using Chris Paul’s non-guaranteed $30 million contract as a flexible tool. There’s been talk with Paul about possibly pushing that guarantee date back from June 28 into July, if necessary, per league sources,” Slater wrote on June 22.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr lobbied for Paul’s return as he values his leadership.

“Chris has been fantastic, not only on the court but the leadership. … He is one of our best players. … I love coaching Chris (Paul). I really hope we bring him back next year,” Kerr told reporters after the Warriors’ season ended in a play-in loss to the Sacramento Kings on April 16.

Paul, 39, was still a serviceable point guard despite his advanced age. Though he produced career-low numbers nearly across the board — 9.2 points, 6.8 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 1.2 steals in 26.4 minutes — he was still the best backup point guard in the league. He led the Warriors in assists and steals.


Chris Paul’s Sacrifices Went for Naught

Paul, who arrived last offseason via trade involving Jordan Poole, sacrificed his individual numbers in the hope of contending with the Warriors.

But it went all for naught as the Warriors failed to advance to the playoffs.

“Yeah, I mean, with Chris, like everything, everything,” Kerr told reporters following the Warriors’ elimination. “He’s one of the most professional guys I’ve ever been around. The sacrifice that he made to come off the bench. The sacrifice to, for the first time in his career, not only come off the bench but at times play 18 minutes like the other night.

For a Hall of Fame guy to do that and not complain, but actually do the opposite and be encouraging to the rest of the guys on the bench, and to the coaches, and to collaborate and go through the entire season and he was incredible.”

While Kerr was hoping for Paul’s return, the four-time champion coach and a former general manager with the Phoenix Suns understands the business side of the league.

“I feel lucky to have coached him and I hope I get to coach him again next year, but we’ll see how it all plays out,” Kerr said.


What’s Next for Chris Paul if No Trade Materializes?

If the Warriors cannot find a trade, there is a reasonable chance he gets waived, according to Bleacher Report’s salary cap expert Eric Pincus.

And once he does, Pincus predicts he will sign with Warriors’ rival Los Angeles Lakers.

“Chris Paul will probably be a free agent,” Pincus said on “Buha’s Block” on May 20. “There is a reasonable chance he gets traded or just cut by the Warriors. LeBron [James] and [Paul] obviously have a close relationship. There is a universe where the Lakers sign Chris Paul. I don’t think it’s outrageous.

I would be remiss without mentioning Chris Paul as a real possibility. It makes a lot of sense to me… Is Chris coming for the minimum? I don’t know… I don’t want to say he comes cheap to the Lakers, but in the absence of a better offer I could see that.”

Alder Almo is a basketball journalist covering the NBA for Heavy.com. He has more than 15 years of experience in local and international media, including broadcast, print and digital. He previously covered the Knicks for Empire Sports Media and the NBA for Off the Glass. Alder is from the Philippines and is now based in Jersey City, New Jersey. More about Alder Almo



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