Paul and the Suns were eliminated from the playoffs on Thursday night, getting blown out at home by the Denver Nuggets and two-time MVP Nikola Jokic. Phoenix’s 125-100 loss marks the second straight season the team lost in blowout fashion in an elimination game.
Last season, the Suns were blown out in Game 7 of the second round by Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks.
Howard posted a video with what appears to be a fake quote photo featuring Paul. Even though Paul never said he’d play in Taiwan, it is funny to see Howard making light of the situation.
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Unfortunately for Paul, a groin injury sidelined him in the final four games of the series against Denver. The Suns already lacked depth on their roster following the trade for Kevin Durant during the 2022-23 season, so losing Paul was a huge blow to the team’s offense.
Durant and Devin Booker willed Phoenix to wins in Games 3 and 4 at home, but the Suns came up short in the final two games of the series to lose in six games.
Howard, who last played in the NBA in the 2021-22 season for the Lakers, was a part of the Lakers team that won the NBA Finals in the 2019-20 campaign. After not finding a deal in the NBA for the 2022-23 season, Howard opted to play professionally in Taiwan.
An eight-time All-Star and three-time Defensive Player of the Year, Howard averaged 6.2 points, 5.9 rebounds and 0.6 blocks in 16.2 minutes per game during the 2021-22 season. He played in 60 games for the Lakers and made 27 starts.
It’s unlikely that Paul’s NBA career is over after this season, especially since he still has two years left on his deal with the Suns. The contract for the 2023-24 season is partially guaranteed, while the following season is non-guaranteed.
With Durant and Booker still under contract, the Suns may decide to run things back next season and hope that their stars can stay healthy.
Still, credit to Howard for at least making the pitch to bring Paul with him to Taiwan.