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NBA Trade Rumors: How Alex Caruso can be the key for LA Lakers in their attempt to acquire Chris Paul

Oklahoma City Thunder v Utah Jazz
Oklahoma City Thunder v Utah Jazz
ANALYST
Modified 24 Oct 2020, 23:17 IST
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LA Lakers are in the news once again after NBA trade rumors about the 2020 champions acquiring Chris Paul emerged last week.

While pairing up the Point God with LeBron James and Anthony Davis would certainly make the Lakers the title favorites next year, the trade could be extremely difficult to pull off.

On this note, let's take a look at how the LA Lakers could still manage to land Chris Paul and why Alex Caruso could be the key to this deal.

NBA Trade Rumors: The CBA rules compel the LA Lakers to include Alex Caruso in a package to land Chris Paul

New York Knicks vs Los Angeles Lakers
New York Knicks vs Los Angeles Lakers

The biggest challenge facing the LA Lakers to acquire Chris Paul is that there is an NBA rule that stipulates that the acquiring team must at least send 80% of the salary back to the other team while trading for a player who earns as much as Chris Paul does.

Paul will be making $41.35 million next season, and the LA Lakers would have to spend at least $33.08 million back in salary.

Assuming Avery Bradley and JaVale McGee pick up their player options, the combined salaries of the duo, along with that of Danny Green, Kyle Kuzma, Quinn Cook and Talen Horton-Tucker would be $32.65 million, which would be just short of the required $33.08 million.

LA Lakers' only option then would be to add the 26-year-old Alex Caruso to the deal on top of the aforementioned six players.

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In the 2019-20 NBA season, Caruso exceeded all expectations and was brilliant on the court at both ends. Given his meager $2.75 million salary, the LA Lakers would have loved to keep him on the roster for one more season.

NBA Trade Rumors: LA Lakers could have kept Alex Caruso in a usual NBA calendar year

Denver Nuggets vs Los Angeles Lakers - Game Two
Denver Nuggets vs Los Angeles Lakers - Game Two

According to the CBA rules, a team can include a rookie in a trade package 30 days after signing a contract. Under normal circumstances, LA Lakers could have used their No. 28 draft pick to sign a rookie and then add him to the package to cross the $33.08 mark.

However, because of the unusual NBA calendar this year, it's highly unlikely that the LA Lakers could get 30 days between the NBA draft day (November 18) and the start of the free agency (which could begin sometime in early December).

As a result of these complications, the LA Lakers may have no choice but to include Alex Caruso in a package that would help them land Chris Paul ahead of the 2020-21 season.

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Also read: NBA Trade Rumors: 5 players that the Phoenix Suns should target this off-season.

Published 24 Oct 2020, 23:17 IST
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