The Phoenix Suns have one goal after a Chris Paul trade
Okay, it’s time for a Phoenix Suns reality check. If you are going to trade for Chris Paul you must know that you have a two-year window in which you can push for an NBA Championship as your ultimate goal. This means general manager James Jones better be all-in as he builds the team this offseason, otherwise, the Suns are a CP3 injury away from being back to the lottery!
What do I mean? In my previous article, I mentioned that the Phoenix Suns should not trade for Chris Paul because it would kill the team’s depth as I felt that the Suns would not go over the cap to build this team properly going forward, as they have not historically gone over the cap.
Now, with Paul arriving onto the scene, it will be up to the miracle worker James Jones to pry the wallet out of the firm grip of team owner Rober Sarver and not be satisfied with just making the playoffs.
Jones will need to push Sarver to surpass the salary cap to accomplish the aforementioned goal of an NBA Championship because they have now landed the elusive second star for Devin Booker.
Royce Young of ESPN reported that the Suns and Thunder have agreed in principle to the trade and signals that the Suns are looking at going over the cap.
"“In a cost-saving measure, the Suns could elect to hold off on the trade until the moratorium is lifted on Monday. That would allow the Suns to use salary-cap space first and circle back, acting like a team over the cap.”"
That would be a strong move for Rober Sarver. By doing this I project that the Phoenix Suns would have around $20.5 million to spend on free agency. This is based on the just-announced salary cap of 2020-2021 of $109.1 million per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, and then I would have the Suns going over the cap to around $115 million. This is purely a projection to give you a starting point of what a potential plan for the Suns would look like.
This is a big trade for this franchise. It’s not Charles Barkley big, but it is as big as the Tom Chambers signing in 1988 which was transformational to that Suns team propelling them from a 28-54 record to the Western Conference Finals the next season, and maybe just as important giving them instant credibility and respect.
The amazing thing about this trade was that it was a win/win for both teams. The Suns pulled it off by trading value, but not so much that it hurt the team. They upgraded the point guard position over Ricky Rubio who is beloved by Suns fans, which also could be said about Kelly Oubre Jr. whose position is being left in the fast-rising capable hands of Mikal Bridges.
Meanwhile, it gives the Thunder two foundational starters, some additional youth talent, and the potential to get another number 1 draft choice from the Los Angeles Lakers as being reported by numerous outlets with the trading of Dennis Schroder helped in part by the trade for Ricky Rubio.
For the final touches of the trade, Cameron Payne made it tolerable to trade the potential in both Ty Jerome and Jalen Lecque. While I am sure Suns GM Jones pushed the Oklahoma City Thunder to take the top 12 protected 2022 Phoenix Suns 1st round. By doing so the Suns now have a chance to add to their depleted bench starting with this years No 10 pick who I believe will be Jalen Smith from the University of Maryland.
On Thursday the Phoenix Suns GM James Jones will probably start to clear the decks by waiving and renouncing players such Cheick Diallo, Jevon Carter, Elie Okobo, Frank Kaminsky, and other cap holds.
The throw-in player in this trade is small forward Abdel Nader who checks in at 6-5 and 225 pounds. He should play both wing positions. Though Nader is shaky at best on defense with his poor lateral movement, he comes in shooting a very solid 37.5 percent from deep and would be a solid bench contributor as he was for the Thunder.
The Phoenix Suns would have many options at that point. They could use most of that cap space to obtain players like Davis Bertans, Jerami Grant, or Serge Ibaka and sign a few veteran minimum contracts that CP3 would hopefully be able to attract with what he brings to this Phoenix Suns team.
My preferred option for the Phoenix Suns would be to sign a couple of players like center Nerlens Noel who presumably had a good relationship with Paul in OKC, Alec Burks, or Justin Holiday and then bring Dario Saric back into the fold.
The new reality for the Phoenix Suns is that their offseason just became exponentially more exciting this year with the trade for Chris Paul to the “Valley City” version of the Phoenix Suns.
Hopefully, even Chris Paul will be able to make that new iron-on Valley Suns jersey look good.