Have the Phoenix Suns Sold Chris Paul on Re-Signing?

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

The Phoenix Suns currently find themselves with a 2-0 NBA Finals lead over the Milwaukee Bucks, with much thanks to veteran point guard Chris Paul.

During Game 1, he dropped 32 points and nine assists while shooting 4-7 from 3-point range. Although the contest fell into some back-and-forth-action during its first half, Paul—and consequently the Suns, turned things up during the third quarter, as the point god blessed his subjects with a 16-point barrage during the period, going 6-7 from the field.

Orchestrating the pick-and-roll to perfection, Paul often drew Bobby Portis and Brook Lopez as defenders following Milwaukee’s switches. He then buttered, tossed, and deep fried them shortly after, scoring with ease from the mid-range. It put the Suns up 92-76 and they never looked back, with their lead neglecting to shrink below the 7-point mark from that moment on.

Paul ended up scoring or assisting on 54 points for the Suns during Game 1, the third most by a player during their NBA Finals debut, trailing only Michael Jordan and Allen Iverson. After the game, Devin Booker called him the “greatest leader to ever play this game.”

That only came on the heels of Deandre Ayton’s earlier praise during the Western Conference Finals. After the Suns secured a 3-1 lead over the Los Angeles Clippers following a Game 5 slugfest where Ayton secured 22 rebounds along with 19 points, he called Paul the “best thing that happened to [his] career.”

Without a doubt, the Suns love Paul, and he proved their infatuation with him well warranted again last night, scoring 23 points while dishing out eight assists to help the Suns defeat the Bucks once more. It inflated Phoenix’s series lead to 2-0, and brought the “Suns in Four” prophecy back into play.

It may not feel like it at this point, but Paul only joined the Suns less than a year ago. In this short time though, he brought the exact push both inside and outside the locker room needed to help Phoenix reach its potential, taking them from a non-playoff team, to one just two games away from their first NBA championship. With Paul already thought by many as the greatest player yet to win a championship, Phoenix’s trade for him last fall seems likely to go down as the greatest one to mutually benefit both a player and organization since the Los Angeles Lakers traded for the late great Kobe Bryant.

But even with all that considered, Paul’s position with the Suns for the foreseeable future remains undetermined at this time. With a player option coming up after this season’s conclusion, most expect him to opt-out and pursue a new deal.

This move from Paul first and foremost comes as one bearing only the intent to earn more money, with general NBA salary inflations occurring every offseason. It in now way means that Paul straight-up no longer wants to play for the Suns, but instead just helps him to make an advantageous financial decision.

But even amidst an NBA-Finals run, where exactly Paul’s new contract lands him next season still feels like an insuppressible question, unanswerable at this time, but still living rent free in the back of each Phoenix fan’s mind.

What might push Paul away from the Phoenix Suns?

The most pivotal factor regarding Paul’s chances to ink another contract with the Suns deals with money distribution above anything else. As an aging 36-year old point guard, Paul’s cliff feels moderately close even despite his current ability to still play at a high level.

Like a brewing storm off in the distance, his deterioration feels inevitable, close by, and unfortunately with an arrival impossible to predict. But working as meteorologists, Phoenix’s front office needs to best forecast Paul’s pending decline, and present a contract that neither leaves them outside when the rain starts to fall, nor causes them to prematurely run for shelter with the sun still shinning.

But with Paul enjoying such a fantastic year, his team seems likely to pursue a more lucrative contract, one not only allowing CP3 to play longer, but also for a hefty price. It certainly makes sense from a financial standpoint for Paul, you cannot expect him to not try and cash in after averaging 16.4 points, 8.9 assists, and 4.5 rebounds per game while potentially leading his team to an NBA Championship.

The Suns still need to finance other components of their team though. Mikal Bridges and Ayton both become eligible for extensions this summer, which they both undoubtedly deserve. Cameron Payne and Torrey Craig will hit the free agent market as well.

That leaves the Suns and Paul with only so much space to operate. If Paul decides he wants so much money that it jeopardizes Phoenix’s financial future, it makes things tricky. Other teams with excessive cape space like the New York Knicks can make a run at him, not for more years, but possibly for more money.

Like with most contract negotiations, the Suns and Paul just need to locate a “happy medium” between all these factors.

Why Paul Should be sold on the Phoenix Suns no matter what

With it mentioned multiple times before, Paul selected the Suns as a trade destination last offseason because he believed in Booker, Ayton, Monty Williams, and their ability to one day win an NBA title. But just because that day came sooner than most expected, it does not mean that much else should change.

Whether or not they continue marching on and win an NBA title, the Suns possess perhaps the game’s most talented young core, likely making them championship contenders again next year. So basically, the same factors which originally attracted Paul to the Suns will once more come into play.

Additionally, the Suns gave Paul what all his former team’s lacked: an NBA Finals berth. The Suns still feel like a dream scenario for CP3, where he essentially when down a buffet line, and picked out all the perks which his former teams carried, and put them onto one plate.

From the New Orleans Hornets, he once again gets his beloved first NBA Coach in Monty Williams. Like he got with both the Clippers and Rockets, he gets a talented team ready to compete for a championship, and like with his one-year stint with the Oklahoma City Thunder, he gets a young core around him which he can inspire and lead.

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Most players never find themselves with a situation as perfect as that, let alone those stepping into their career’s later stages. Not even the money Paul might attain elsewhere this offseason can buy that.