Star point guard Chris Paul continues to lead the Phoenix Suns to a promising playoff run. As Paul navigates through the postseason, it’s brought more attention to his upcoming massive contract decision. With that in mind, Hall of Famer Charles Barkley recently offered the All-Star guard a strong opinion.
Chris Paul headlines Suns’ promising playoff run
Paul‘s career took another drastic turn after an offseason trade to the Suns following one season with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The star guard quickly made a significant impact, transforming Phoenix into one of the league’s top teams. The Suns captured their first Pacific Division title in 14 years behind a 51-21 record. It marked a 17-win improvement that secured the franchise the second overall seed in the Western Conference playoff picture.
The 36-year-old recorded another impressive campaign, averaging 16.4 points and 8.9 assists while shooting 49.9% from the floor, 39.5% from 3-point range, and a career-best 93.4% from the free-throw line. Despite suffering a shoulder injury, Paul helped push the Suns past the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round.
His performance guided Phoenix into a commanding 2-0 series lead over the Denver Nuggets. Paul is coming off a masterful performance with 17 points and 15 assists with no turnovers in the blowout Game 2 win. According to ESPN, he is the only player to have 15 assists and no turnovers in a playoff game with three different teams.
As the Suns continue through the playoffs, a Hall of Famer has provided weighed in on his upcoming contract decision.
Charles Barkley questions Chris Paul about his $44.2 million decision: ‘I’ve never been drunk enough to say no to $45 million’
Regardless of how the Suns’ playoff run unfolds, Paul holds a massive decision ahead concerning his NBA future.
Paul holds a $44.2 million player option for the 2021-22 season that he has to decide by August 1. Last week, a report from Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report indicated that the 36-year-old intends to opt-out of the option to ink a three-year contract worth around $100 million.
With that cloud hovering over the situation, Hall of Famer Charles Barkley weighed in, strongly voicing that he wouldn’t turn down the player option even if he were intoxicated.
“You know I like to drink right? I’ve never been drunk enough to say no to $45 million,” Barkley told Suns reporter Duane Rankin of AZ Central.
Paul may desire to work out a long-term deal, but declining a $44.2 million option for one season sounds unfathomable to Barkley. It’s unlikely that the Suns or any team will come close to that annual financial figure in the next deal due to his age and injury history.
Barkley’s comments don’t bash Paul but rather outline the massive risk of losing a significant chunk of money. Nonetheless, it further underlines the huge decision the star guard has ahead.
A career-changing contract decision lies ahead
Barkley‘s remarks shed light on how difficult the decision ahead is for Paul.
The 36-year-old isn’t near the finish line in his illustrious career and wants to secure his long-term future. The problem may arise with the type of offers he will receive from the Suns or another team.
According to Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated, a few NBA executives voiced Paul might only command a three-year deal worth $60 million. It’s a number that falls well below the desired money, which may lead to him to exercise the option.
If Paul elects to exercise the option, it places immense pressure on him to put forth another All-Star caliber campaign while remaining healthy. He moved through the regular season without any injuries until a shoulder issue flared up in the first round against the Lakers.
Paul’s decision may ultimately ride on whether he wants to take the risk with picking up the option or accept the financial hit to secure his long-term NBA future.
Contract courtesy of Spotrac.