3 reasons the Phoenix Suns boldly waived Chris Paul.
1. Chris Paul will be back with the Phoenix Suns
It is time to put on the tinfoil hat here, but this isn’t as ridiculous as it appears on face value. Firstly though the important bit, and that is that if the Suns were to stretch Paul’s deal, he would be unable to come back and play for them again this season on any sort of contract. That wouldn’t be bending the rules, it would be snapping them.
Paul knows the Suns represent one of the best chances to win a championship, and although he could go anywhere he wanted now that he has been waived, there are few better options out there for him. You could argue the Lakers and that is fine, or even the Miami Heat. But we’re just scratching the surface on this Booker/Durant duo, and it is one Paul should want to see himself.
We’ve already mentioned how the Suns need depth, and being waived so as to get half of Paul’s money off the books would allow them to add some players of value. If he then came back himself on a much smaller deal, it would negate the need for the team to go looking for another guard at all through free agency or trade.
Again Paul could come off the bench if needed, although the idea of Payne running the show on a lot of nights it terrifying. Still, this is a situation where everybody is happy. Paul gets to stick with a contender, the Suns make their cap situation more manageable, and the coaching staff get to keep a player who will one day surely be a coach himself.
This is exactly the kind of move owner Mat Ishbia would make as well. Since buying the Suns just before Christmas last year, he has already traded for Durant, added Isiah Thomas to the front office, duelled with Nikola Jokic for a basketball, fired Monty Williams and completely remade the coaching staff while spending a lot of money, and now waived Paul.
It is a level of aggression and willingness to do what it takes to win that we do see from new owners, only Ishbia appears to be approaching this in a way we haven’t seen before. The Thomas news was quiet, the coaching moves far from flashy and the waiving of Paul quick. If anybody is going to turn around and bring him back again, it is Ishbia and the Suns.