Could Suns reunite with former All-Star point guard this summer?

The Phoenix Suns are going to need a backup point guard this offseason, and former franchise great Chris Paul could be in the mix.
Phoenix Suns v Golden State Warriors
Phoenix Suns v Golden State Warriors / Lachlan Cunningham/GettyImages

As the Phoenix Suns get set to begin what they hope will be a long postseason run, a dynasty looks to have finally fallen out in San Francisco. The Golden State Warriors being felled by the Sacramento Kings in the play-in tournament, forcing them to begin their summer much earlier than usual.

The core of that Warriors team - featuring all-time greats in Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green - may have played their last game together, and there is already speculation that Thompson could pursue a move to another fringe contender this offseason. The futures of Curry and Green are unclear, although both are woven into the fabric of the Warriors' DNA.

One other player on their roster who that franchise will have to have tough conversations about is Chris Paul, and it could mean a return to The Valley for next season.

Before even thinking about how that is possible - Paul is making $30 million in the final year of his current contract next season - we need to be sure the soon to be 39-year-old isn't thinking about hanging up his boots altogether. In the aftermath of the Warriors' season ending however, he was quick to shoot down any talk of retirement, telling Anthony Slater of The Athletic;

"I’ll talk to my wife and my kids, my family, my support system, see what it looks like. But this isn’t (the end of my career). I know it for sure."

Chris Paul on retirement

But with Paul making so much money and the Suns having three max players - it was moving Paul's contract that allowed them to go out and get Bradley Beal last summer - how could a return be possible? Paul's deal is non-guaranteed, which means in theory the Warriors could allow the time left to guarantee the deal to expire.

This was what some fans thought would happen last offseason, with Paul landing with the Washington Wizards for Beal. There was some confusion as to whether he could not get his deal guaranteed, before then heading back to the Suns on a minimum deal. That wasn't allowed to happen then - the contract was picked up and Paul was traded for Jordan Poole - but it could happen now.

That's because the Warriors could waive Paul before the deadline late this June to guarantee his deal, and in doing so shed themselves of one of the big-time contracts on their roster that has seen them soar into the luxury tax. If Thompson were also to leave this summer, it could signal the a re-build for that organization, and the Suns could profit.

Paul is not even the same player he was when he left the Suns, but he could be exactly what they need off the bench. It is not secret that the team had a lack of depth at the point guard position this season, with injuries to both Beal and Booker part of the reason they flirted with the play-in tournament for so long.

If Paul could come off the bench for 15 minutes a night when the team is fully healthy, it would be a huge boost. We've seen the kind of players who will be available this summer - another go with Cameron Payne or else Alec Burks - and Paul would be an obvious upgrade over both.

The Suns had a real turnover problem during the regular season, finishing 25th in the league at a shade under 15 per game. Paul would obviously help take care of the ball - and for the times when Beal is sure to miss games in the future through injury - he would be a better replacement to come in and take even half of his minutes.

Phoenix Suns' best player of the 2023-24 regular season. Phoenix Suns' best player of the 2023-24 regular season. dark. Next

The relationship between Paul and Booker is great - it was Paul's tutelage that both helped turn the franchise around and made Booker a comfortable floor general this season - and the potential to have them team up again seems too good to be true. Yes he is much past his best, but Paul wouldn't be relied upon like he was in the past. Instead he'd be the best backup in the entire league.

This is avenue the Suns have to seriously explore this offseason, and there's every reason to think the Warriors will let him walk too. Paul has mentioned how he saw more of his family living in San Francisco than in the last five years, and that is clearly important to him. The Valley is not too far away, and it is a place Paul and his family are sure to be familiar with. This makes too much sense.