Phoenix Suns: Who gets paid first this summer?

Chris Paul, Phoenix Suns (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Chris Paul, Phoenix Suns (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

Whether this stunning Phoenix Suns playoff run ends in a championship or falls short, there won’t be much of a vacation for the organization when it comes to payroll decisions.

After a season during which just about everyone outplayed their contract value and the critics were soundly quieted, priorities must be established as it relates to doling out future money.

The Phoenix Suns have major money decisions to make in the next couple of months as their long postseason run has reduced the offseason considerably.

The Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks play Game 6 of their Eastern Conference finals series on Saturday night, with the NBA Finals matchup to begin in a few days.

Phoenix Suns money decision: Chris Paul

After having made $41,358,814 in his first Suns season, Chris Paul is in a prime position to collect even more next year – but that is probably not going to happen because Paul holds the option to tear up the remaining year.

A decision to opt out does not necessarily mean he’s done with the Suns, but Robert Sarver, James Jones, et al, would need to meet the likely demand of three years at $30 million or more per season. That kind of deal would take Paul into his year-39 season. That’s quite a commitment.

Suns fans hope that as Chris Paul’s legacy has been redefined, that his business address stays the same.

It’s really all about where Paul wants to continue his career.

Phoenix Suns money decision: Deandre Ayton

Deandre Ayton made $10,018,200 on his rookie deal this season and is owed $12,632,950 for the coming season – but the pressure will be on the Suns to draw up a nice, new contract that rewards the progress – and the potential – shown by the University of Arizona big man this season.

Ayton, per NBA contract guidelines, can sign a maximum rookie extension of five years, $168 million this summer.

Chris Paul believes that’s going to happen.

The 7-footer, maligned his rookie year and forever tied with the draft decision surrounding Luka Doncic, has worked his tail off the past several months and will find a very secure financial future.

Suns fans are hopeful that will be played out in Phoenix.

Phoenix Suns money decision: Mikal Bridges

With Dario Saric, Cam Johnson and, of course, max guy Devin Booker all on the books already for 2021-22, the Bridges decision could be the most difficult.

With dominoes to fall directly influenced by what Chris Paul decides, the Suns will turn to Bridges after decisions on Paul and Ayton are secured.

Bridges earned $4,359,000 in 2020-21 and is eligible for an extension.

The Suns would do well to come strong at a minimum three years and $60 million or more, because, despite a rather pedestrian playoffs — by Bridges’ regular-season standards anyway — the third-year Villanova star is already a legitimate NBA starter.

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According to, the Suns ranked 21st in overall player payroll for this season. To keep the championship-caliber team intact for 2021-22, they’ll need to hit the top 10.