Two years in the past, Chris Paul led the Phoenix Suns to the NBA Finals. Now, Phoenix is reportedly waiving the long run Corridor of Fame level guard.
Phoenix initially signed Paul to a four-year deal that might have been value $120 million. The important thing phrase is “may have.” The ultimate yr of the deal was non-guaranteed whereas 2023-24 solely partially-guaranteed for $15.8 million.
The Suns have determined to pay Paul that cash to not play for them, reasonably than maintain him for $15 million extra. Whereas it is not an enormous shock, on condition that the franchise reportedly tried to trade Paul earlier than the deadline, it’s nonetheless uncommon to see one of many NBA’s 75 greatest players of all time launched for nothing.
The 38-year-old Paul was nonetheless productive final yr, averaging 13.9 factors and eight.9 assists, one yr after main the NBA in dishes. However he as soon as once more suffered an injury within the playoffs, leaving the Suns short-handed of their second-round loss to the Denver Nuggets.
With Kevin Durant turning 35 this fall, Phoenix might have determined they merely cannot depend on two older, injury-prone gamers. It additionally signifies that they could not discover a commerce companion for Paul at his $30 million wage, even when the crew merely needed to chop $15 million in wage by waiving him.
This opens up some monetary flexibility for the Suns, who may be seeking to deal heart Deandre Ayton. Shifting Paul additionally provides them an opportunity to remain below the second luxurious tax apron, which comes with punitive penalties below the brand new Collective Bargaining Settlement.
May this imply the group will attempt to pursue Kyrie Irving in a sign-and-trade with the Dallas Mavericks, to reunite Durant together with his buddy and former Brooklyn Nets teammate? If Dallas believes Ayton can anchor their protection behind Luka Doncic – and Irving decides he needs out – it could possibly be an actual risk.
As for Paul, the veteran now turns into one of many high free brokers in the marketplace – for a short-term deal. And with $15.8 million already banked for subsequent season, Paul may play for the mid-level exception and even the veteran minimal to crew up with a contender and take a look at once more for the one purpose he has but to realize in his illustrious profession: A championship.