The Phoenix Suns fell only two wins short of winning its first NBA title in franchise history. The disappointing loss quickly shifts the attention toward star point guard Chris Paul‘s upcoming contract decision. As that situation nears closer, Hall of Famer Magic Johnson didn’t waste time to provide his two cents on what Paul should do next that unsurprisingly involves LeBron James.
Chris Paul and Suns fall short against the Bucks
In his first season with the Suns, Paul led the franchise on an impressive run to its first trip to the NBA Finals in 28 years.
The 36-year-old helped push the team to a 2-0 series lead over the Bucks, but things quickly changed after that point. Giannis Antetokounmpo took over as Phoenix had no answer defensively to slow down the two-time league MVP.
Antetokounmpo dominated the series averaging 35.2 points, 13.2 rebounds, and 5.0 assists per contest, guiding the Bucks to its first NBA title in 50 years. He joined Hall of Famers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Tim Duncan by winning multiple MVPs and a Finals MVP by age 26 or younger.
Paul performed well in his first NBA Finals appearance, averaging 21.8 points and 8.2 assists on 54.4% shooting from the floor and 48.7% from beyond the arc. However, it wasn’t enough to guide the Suns to a championship.
The loss in the 2021 NBA Finals sends Paul to a critical decision that involves his contract situation for next season. As he nears closer to that pivotal move, a Hall of Famer offered him straightforward advice that would make Lakers fans happy.
Magic Johnson dishes out advice to Chris Paul after losing in the NBA Finals that involves LeBron James
After Paul mentally resets from the crushing NBA Finals shortcomings, he will have a massive decision ahead.
The 36-year-old holds a $44.2 million player option for the 2021-22 season. Reports have already indicated he will decline in favor of a lucrative multi-year deal. Before Paul embarks on that route, Magic Johnson took to Twitter to tell the star point guard he should speak to his close friend LeBron James if he opts out of his contract.
“If Chris Paul opts out of his contract with the Suns, his first call should be from his best friend LeBron James and the Lakers,” Johnson tweeted.
Earlier in the playoffs, Johnson became quite vocal concerning Paul potentially joining the Lakers. He also revealed he hasn’t moved past the NBA nixing the trade that would have sent the 11-time All-Star to Los Angeles.
It’s no secret Paul and James share a strong relationship that extends far off the court. Meanwhile, the Lakers want to revamp the backcourt, and Paul certainly fits the bill. However, Los Angeles possesses several hurdles with financial restraints that will limit the type of contract the organization can offer.
Meanwhile, the expectation is that Paul will return to the Suns, especially after leading the franchise to just two wins shy of securing an NBA title. The possibility is certainly there, but there is much that would need to change to make that scenario a realistic outcome.
Maintains full control over his NBA future
Johnson’s public suggestion aside, Paul holds complete control of his NBA future.
It’s more than likely the 36-year-old chooses to opt out of his deal to secure a long-term contract. As he stated following the Game 6 loss on Tuesday, he holds no desire to retire anytime soon.
The question becomes what kind of deal he wants to ink next this upcoming summer. Reports indicated he’s eyeing a three-year contract worth around $100 million. The Suns will certainly pay that type of money, especially after a deep playoff run to the NBA Finals.
If Paul wants to remain in Phoenix for the next few years, the opportunity will be there. It’s a matter of what he feels is best for his NBA career moving forward.
Contract courtesy of Spotrac.