Phoenix Suns: 5 Underrated Transactions That Built This NBA Finals Team

Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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Phoenix Suns, Chris Paul
Phoenix Suns, Chris Paul (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

Phoenix Suns Underrated Transaction #4: Trading for Chris Paul

This one is not so much underrated, but at the time of the trade, most did not think the Suns landing Chris Paul would make them immediate championship contenders. However, that’s exactly where we are right now, making said transaction a bigger deal than initially understood.

For the Suns, two things were clear after their 2019-20 season. First, they had to get the best out of their core, needing a high IQ point guard to do so. Second, if they could upgrade their roster a bit more, the Suns can build something special.

Trading for CP3 met the criteria for these both points. Coming off the back of a stellar season in Oklahoma City where he unexpectedly led the Thunder to the five seed in the West, Paul possessed many of the important traits carried by Rubio, while being a very clear upgrade in many regards as well.

A high IQ playmaker, disciplined defender, and all-time great mid-range score? Trading for Paul could unlock something special: possibly winning a playoff series for the first time in 11 years.

But to trade for the savvy veteran, the Suns would need to give up some important pieces to OKC. The Thunder were not necessarily looking for players to keep, but rather any valuable assets they use to help fuel their rebuilding efforts. They ended up dealing Rubio, Oubre Jr., and a few other pieces.

Obviously, the trade worked out great for Phoenix. Supported by Booker’s continued excellence, another incredible Chris Paul season, and contributions from an incredibly deep roster, the Suns went from out of the playoffs the year before—to having the second best record in the whole league.

Even while he remained influential on the court, Paul had a very important locker-room role too, acting as one of the more vocal leaders on the team, and helping certain players get better. Being one of those players, Ayton gave credit to Paul for his leadership after a Western Conference Finals victory over the Clippers, naming him the “best thing that happened to [his] career.”

Also doing well for himself, CP3 has had some unreal games this postseason. Most notably, he put on a midrange clinic vs the Denver Nuggets in Game 4, and later an insane 41-point game to close out the Clippers.

While some expected the Paul trade to be nothing more than a desperation move for a playoff appearance, it has paid off handsomely.