The Phoenix Suns sit only four wins away from securing their first-ever NBA title. Star point guard Chris Paul has played a pivotal part in guiding the franchise toward tremendous success. It’s guided conversation over to Paul‘s upcoming contract situation, which his actions as NBPA president may have made that process easier.
Chris Paul transforms the Suns into NBA title contender
Last offseason, the Suns changed the franchise’s fate after acquiring Paul.
The 36-year-old quickly became a driving force toward making Phoenix one of the league’s top teams, helping them finish with the Western Conference’s second-best record. The team followed it with an impressive run through the playoffs, pushing to the organization’s NBA Finals berth in 28 years.
The Suns’ success also underlines a pending contract decision ahead, which he may have made easier through his own doing.
Chris Paul’s actions as NBPA president may have already crushed the Knicks’ chances of signing him
As the offseason nears closer, Paul‘s pending contract decision becomes a more prominent underlying storyline.
Reports indicate the star point guard will opt-out of the final year of his deal worth $44.2 million. The New York Knicks will monitor the situation, hoping to secure the chance to land the future Hall of Famer.
Despite the financial flexibility, the Knicks may already be out of the picture to acquire Paul due to a rule in the current collective bargaining agreement (CBA). It stems from a rarely-discussed “over 36 rule” he helped alter to the “over 38 rule” in the new CBA.
According to Yahoo Sports, the regulation pinpoints that a team without bird rights can’t offer a four-year contract to a player who will turn 38 years old during the proposed deal. It’s a rule created to prevent owners from cheating the system by paying a player extra money that allows for payment to come in retirement.
The rule will impact Paul as it won’t allow the Knicks or any other team to give him more than a three-year deal while the Suns can add the fourth year to any offer. In other words, if New York presents the three-year, $100 million contract the star guard is reportedly eyeing, Phoenix can counter with an added fourth year.
It’s a potential bargaining chip Paul could use to force the Suns to give him a four-year deal. Nonetheless, it may all but eliminate any chance the Knicks have in landing him this upcoming offseason.
Phoenix sits as the best landing spot
Paul will have complete control of the next chapter of his career, but it’s hard to envision him leaving Phoenix.
In his brief time with the franchise, he’s transformed the team into a championship contender. He’s become the central piece that’s guided the franchise toward the brink of winning an NBA title.
The Suns possess a strong blend of youth and veteran presence. Paul quickly developed strong bonds and chemistry with his teammates. It’s lead to elevating the play of both All-Star guard Devin Booker and rising-star big man Deandre Ayton. As the 11-time All-Star ages, Booker and Ayton can each take more prominent roles in Phoenix.
The continued growth in the talent around him while finding promising success are two factors that should convince Paul to re-sign with the franchise. It may only be a matter of going through the offseason process to work out a long-term contract to keep the star guard through likely the rest of his illustrious career.
Contract courtesy of Spotrac.