Chris Paul led the Phoenix Suns to within two wins of the NBA championship in 2021, but things haven’t gone as planned since. Phoenix suffered an embarrassing second-round Game 7 home loss at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks last season. Now they’re hovering around .500 with Paul posting career-lows in scoring (13.7 points per game) as well as most value metrics. Phoenix acquired Paul hoping for an immediate push. Two years later, his window appears to be closing.
Paul is now 37 years old. Devin Booker, Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson and DeAndre Ayton are all between the ages of 24 and 26. This is still a fairly young team with one older cornerstone, and now that the Suns have seemingly slipped out of the immediate championship picture, they are justifiably considering what life after Paul will look like. According to Marc Stein, the Suns have started to assess their post-Paul future, and as such, are eyeing point guards like Fred VanVleet, Immanuel Quickley and Terry Rozier at the trade deadline.
Phoenix is in a fairly enviable position from a trade standpoint. The Suns still have all of their first-round picks at their disposal. They will eventually be able to turn Jae Crowder into something else of value as well. But from a salary standpoint, the Suns almost need to include Paul if they plan to make a major deal. That’s not true in the short-term, as the Suns have almost $25 million in expiring salary to dangle between Crowder, Dario Saric and Torrey Craig, but if they plan to import a starting-caliber point guard, they probably need to get off of the rest of Paul’s contract.
Paul’s deal is only partially guaranteed beyond this season, but for obvious reasons, a team that is already paying the luxury tax would prefer not to pay Paul $15.8 million to play for another team next season. It simply makes more sense to use $28.4 million cap figure this season as the matching salary in a deal that brings in an outside point guard.
Each of the targets Stein mentions bring different things to the table. VanVleet can fit with almost…
Source link : https://www.cbssports.com/nba/news/suns-trade-rumors-phoenix-starting-to-plan-for-post-chris-paul-future-reportedly-eyeing-point-guards/
Author : Sam Quinn
Publish date : 2023-01-26 01:09:00
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