Despite Game 3 of the NBA Finals taking place on Monday, the Phoenix Suns somehow managed to make the day all about themselves, with the news breaking that they planned on waiving Chris Paul. A move that seemingly came out of nowhere and was first reported by Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report, before the discourse then took another turn.
Both Shams Charania of The Athletic and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN added additional layers to the story, with the future of Paul still largely up in the air. He may be waived altogether, or possibly stretched to save the Suns even more money. He could even return to the organization. Either way, we have not reached the conclusion of this one.
Nestled in amongst the Paul news, there was a potentially huge piece of information regarding center DeAndre Ayton, and his own future with the franchise.
New head coach Frank Vogel said all of the right things in his introductory press conference about believing Ayton could return to his All-Star level of productivity from before. But according to Woj, the Suns are still exploring avenues where Ayton gets traded, and if that means Paul can return and the team has a much healthier cap sheet, or indeed both players end up elsewhere.
Paul on his part is keen to return to the organization, and rightly so. They represent one of his best chances league wide to win a championship. We have yet to really seen how good Devin Booker and Kevin Durant can be leading this group. It is unclear how Ayton feels about being in Arizona, although we do know he has signed an offer sheet to play with the Indiana Pacers before.
But if the Suns choose to only bring one of these two back as the third best player on their team, who should they pick? There are merits to both, and the contractual situations of the two play a bigger part than ever in making that decision. Owner Mat Ishbia has already shown a willingness to be aggressive to win, so let us examine the case for keeping one of Paul or Ayton.