Phoenix Suns’ 5 best trades: Chris Paul arrives

Chris Paul, Phoenix Suns (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
Chris Paul, Phoenix Suns (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images) /
3 of 6
Phoenix Suns icon Paul Westphal
Phoenix Suns coach Paul Westphal (Photo by Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Phoenix Suns’ No. 4 best trade happened May 23, 1975 when the franchise acquired Paul Westphal from the Boston Celtics.

Sure, they gave up high-scoring Charlie Scott and two second-round picks, but Phoenix came out ahead — the rare transaction Celtics maestro Red Auerbach didn’t win.

Scott scored 24.8 points per game in his first three full seasons with the Suns.

The return, though, was franchise-altering.

Not only did Paul Westphal become a Suns legend, he joined the community in Arizona and became a legend when he coached the team to the NBA Finals in 1993.

The Suns had the foresight to reach for Westphal, who was only 24 years old at the time of the deal. He was coming off a season during which he averaged only 9.8 points per game.

In his first season with Phoenix, 1975-76, Westphal scored 20.5 points per game and led the team all the way to the NBA Finals where, coincidentally, they met the Celtics and fell in six hard-fought games.

Westphal scored 21.1 points per game through the Suns’ 19-game playoff run that season, cementing his status as a larger-than-life sports star in a city with only one major pro sports team.

Over the next three seasons in the Valley, Westphal scored 21.3, 25.2 and 24 points per game.

He was traded to Seattle for Dennis Johnson in 1981.

As the Suns coach, he went 191-88 from 1992-96.

Westphal was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2019.