Rallying in the Valley may come to an abrupt halt, with news surfacing regarding the possible departure of All-Star Guard Chris Paul after a three-year stint with the Phoenix Suns. After one trip to the National Basketball Association (NBA) Finals and two premature second-round exits, the Ishbia-owned franchise explores the directions for the Point-God’s four-year $120M contract—entertaining a trade, waive, stretching his contract over multiple years, or waiving and potentially re-resigning him in free agency.
Reporting for NBA Countdown on the Suns beginning conversations with Chris Paul on his future with franchise pic.twitter.com/2DoOaRX3fV
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 8, 2023
The consistent Western Conference contender looks to capitalize on their depleting cap space by modifying Paul’s contract and exploring the options to fortify their hopeful title run. With the addition of former NBA Most Valuable Player Kevin Durant during the 2022-23 season, as well as the hefty sums of Devin Booker and DeAndre Ayton, salary allocations pose an issue to keep the wheel from churning.
Deciding to waive the 12-time NBA All-Star before the June 28 deadline comes to a double-edged sword—bidding farewell to their captain, as seeing him walk would subject to a $15.8 million payout by the Suns with Paul donning the opposition’s jersey. It wouldn’t come as a surprise seeing the mythical Banana Boat Squad assemble for the Showtime Lakers or a reunion with Lob City. Still, Los Angeles seems like a suitable destination for the 38-year-old, retreating to the West Coast in the off-season.
After they waive Chris Paul, the Phoenix Suns will have five players under contract:
Deandre Ayton – $32.5M
Devin Booker – $36.0M
Kevin Durant – $47.6M
Landry Shamet – $10.3M
Cameron Payne – $6.5M ($2M guaranteed)
PHX has a $1.9M TO for Ish Wainrighthttps://t.co/Fp4V6sLc7B
— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) June 7, 2023
With former Lakers’ Head Coach Frank Vogel at the helm to lead the championship-caliber roster, the Valley is nowhere near an apparent rebuild—maximizing their All-Star-led roster, with bench depth and a coaching reform may be critical to the promised land. All eyes depend on Paul’s faith in the franchise, as there are no promises regarding CP3’s loyalty if the Phoenix Suns look to re-sign him in free agency—as it would entail a necessary pay cut, yet may pose as his best chance to run it back for the title.
As a vital piece of the Phoenix Suns’ early-2020s resurgence, Paul’s on-court influence couples leadership and experience with an unparalleled pass-first mindset, situating himself among the greatest to ever step on the hardwood. With Larry O’Brien being the missing component to his 18-year tenure, father time looms in the rearview mirror, reflected through his (sadly) depleting performance and injury-riddled seasons.