Phoenix Suns rumors state the team has tangible interest in OKC Thunder point guard Chris Paul
For the Phoenix Suns it’s that time of year, the in-between time where nothing is going on in the NBA and everyone is looking for someone to start something. It is the time when one little spark and the NBA world is set ablaze with talk of an NBA All-Star player being traded from his team for the Clippers, Lakers, Knicks, or wait, what… the Phoenix Suns?
It’s true, thanks to a rumor thrown out by Brian Windhorst and Tim Bontemps of ESPN the temperature in Phoenix is about to get as hot as any day in July. Brian Windhorst is reporting that the Suns have had discussions surrounding the possibility of acquiring Chris Paul from the OKC Thunder.
In Phoenix, this is a big deal, the kind that the former owner of the Phoenix Suns Jerry Colangelo was known for, not so much for this current Suns ownership. Colangelo gets a new building, he knows they need a name to go with it, BOOM Charles Barkley is being traded to Phoenix!
But is that something Robert Sarver could even pull off? According to Windhorst:
"“In addition to their young roster, contributing to the Suns’ momentum is the near completion of the first phase of a $230 million renovation of Talking Stick Resort Arena. The Suns also are set to open a new, state-of-the-art, $45 million practice facility this month.”"
If Sarver has learned anything from Colangelo in the brief time they worked together, Suns fans can hope Sarver was paying attention during the “New Building, Go Big” lesson that Colangelo was teaching. But it is a risky move in that you have to pay a 35-year-old Chris Paul who over the past 5 years has missed an average of 17 games per season $85.5 million over the next two years.
Mr. Sarver, maybe it’s time to take a real risk? I don’t think it will cost the Suns so much that it would hurt the overall talent of the team, thanks to James Jones. The Phoenix Suns could probably offer a pretty good deal, but it won’t be the windfall of young Suns players that Oklahoma City would be looking for, again the 35-year-old Paul will get on average $42.5 million per year for two years so the Thunder are not in control.
But the Suns could put a very good deal together, while still keeping their Bubble team together if they really wanted Paul.
So what would it take for All-Star Chris Paul to come to Phoenix? Paul last season shot 49 percent from the field, 37 percent from deep, and 91 percent from the line while dishing out 6.7 assists, grabbing 5.0 rebounds, and scoring 17.4 points per game, and he plays really good defense.
As for a deal, there are not a lot of options for the Phoenix Suns and Thunder when you are talking about matching a $41.4 million contract, but again the Suns can do it and make no doubt about it the move would hurt their depth.
According to the Phoenix Suns roster and cap numbers, the Suns could ship point guard Ricky Rubio, small forward Kelly Oubre Jr. and since the Thunder need some inexpensive height at power forward and back up center, Frank Kaminsky can back up both positions.
But here’s the tricky part: How many first-round draft picks will the Suns have to give up? I say one pick and it should not be this year’s pick as I feel the Phoenix Suns hold the cards with this deal, they don’t have to trade for Chris Paul.
Because of how this deal could affect the Phoenix Suns rotation depth, it’s imperative that the team holds onto this pick and trade the Thunder a future pick. If the Thunder request two number one picks from the Phoenix Suns I wouldn’t do the deal.
If my projections are correct, and if everything falls into place the Phoenix Suns would only have 9 players under contract on their roster which would include the five starters Chris Paul, Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton, Mikal Bridges, and Cam Johnson, while the bench would just fall of the cliff with the No. 10 pick, Ty Jerome, Jalen Leque, and the only rotation player from last season’s Bubble bench Cameron Payne.
Those above players would leave the Phoenix Suns with $9.7 million in salary cap space and in need of two quality rotation players that are at least the quality of players they were possibly losing in Dario Saric and Jevon Carter, both restricted free-agents that could have each of their salaries doubled this offseason.
It is true the Phoenix Suns are giving up a lot, Ricky Rubio can almost mirror Chris Paul’s numbers which makes it a tougher call, but Paul is clearly an All-Star, where Ricky is a very solid player for this team. Would I make the deal?
Nope. Not unless Robert Sarver and the Phoenix Suns were willing to go over the cap to secure the quality needed for the currently awful bench created by this trade.
But if they did it I would enjoy the heck out of their $85.5 million roll of the dice.
Not to mention Devin Booker would finally get a second star to play with, that’s not a bad thing.