Star point guard Chris Paul has quickly transformed the Phoenix Suns into an NBA powerhouse. Paul‘s impact goes well beyond his play as the Suns have an opportunity to push toward an NBA title. With all that in mind, the future Hall of Famer has already decided on his contract situation.
Chris Paul’s impressive first season with the Suns
After one season with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Paul found a new NBA home following a blockbuster trade to the Suns.
The 36-year-old quickly grasped a pivotal role in transforming Phoenix into an NBA powerhouse. The pairing alongside All-Star guard Devin Booker lifted the franchise into playoff contention.
The Suns finished the regular season earning their first Pacific Division title in 14 years behind a 51-21 record. Phoenix experienced a 17-win improvement that captured the second seed in the Western Conference playoff picture. Paul averaged 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.
His presence has transformed the Suns into a potential NBA title contender despite the youth throughout the roster. Paul firmly became the clear-cut leader beyond his All-Star caliber play.
Beyond that, he’s shown that he has plenty of gas left in the tank to play at an elite level. Paul has now apparently decided his contract situation.
Chris Paul already made a $44.4 Million decision that will change the course of his NBA career
Paul‘s impressive play this season has shifted the attention away from his contract situation.
The 36-year-old’s focus remains on guiding the Suns past the defending champion Lakers in the first-round playoff series. However, Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report revealed that Paul intends to decline the $44.4 million player option for the 201-22 season, making him an unrestricted free agent.
Pincus added that the star guard is hoping to ink a three-year deal worth likely more than $100 million, while his recent shoulder injury could play a factor. Paul’s pending free agency comes with the likely sole desire to re-sign with the Suns despite the ability to test the open market.
Phoenix possesses a promising young nucleus with Booker, Deandre Ayton, Mikal Bridges, Cameron Payne, and Cam Johnson. The roster will continue to grow and develop, likely keeping them in NBA title contention in the years ahead.
At the same time, it’s hard to overlook the possibility that another team could attempt to swoop in to lure away the future Hall of Famer. The Lakers immediately crop up as a landing spot, as reports last offseason underlined the team’s interest in pairing him alongside close friend LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
However, Los Angeles currently doesn’t possess the salary-cap space necessary to offer him a deal that will pay him near $100 million. The potential interest from other teams aside, Paul is headed toward a massive payday.
Phoenix aiming to move past the Lakers
The Suns hold the golden opportunity to make a deep playoff run.
Phoenix has Los Angeles facing elimination in Game 6 on Thursday night. Paul‘s nagging shoulder injury has impacted the series, but he’s managed to play through it.
The star guard suffered a slight setback during Game 5 that raises questions concerning his effectiveness. Keep in mind, he struggled in Game 3 as he worked his way back from the initial injury.
Phoenix will likely lean on Payne to provide an offensive spark if Paul is anything less than productive. The 26-year-old has been an effective scoring option against the Lakers, averaging 13.6 points on 45.6% shooting from the floor and 43.5% from deep. He’s notched double-digit scoring outputs in each of the last four games.
Booker has also torched Los Angeles, averaging 26.2 points on 44.4% shooting. He’s recorded three 30-point performances while hitting at least a 50% clip twice.
If the Suns hope to finish off the Lakers, it will need to be the other talent around Paul that lifts them forward.
Contract courtesy of Spotrac.