Reporting for NBA Countdown on the Suns beginning conversations with Chris Paul on his future with franchise pic.twitter.com/2DoOaRX3fV
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 8, 2023
“I’m told that the Phoenix Suns and Chris Paul, his representatives had a series of conversations today to start discussing his future in Phoenix, including the possibility that the organization could use the waive and stretch provision on his contract prior to the June 28 date that guarantees his contract,” said Adrian Wojnarowski.
“I’m told Chris Paul and his reps, they want an answer on his future sooner than that June 28 deadline,” said Wojnarowski. “They want to know if they’re headed into free agency where he would be certainly very coveted especially with the two teams in L.A.: the Clippers, the Lakers, where he still keeps his offseason home.”
Both teams could use an established, reliable point guard and floor general to bolster their chances of winning the NBA championship next season.
The Lakers currently have two very good ball-handling guards in D’Angelo Russell and Austin Reaves. However, both of them will be free agents, and it will be difficult for them to keep both, given how much money they will command on the open market and the restrictions of the salary cap, which is about to become even tighter.
It is also important to note that Paul and LeBron James have been good friends for many years, and they comprise one-half of the “Banana Boat” crew that includes the now-retired Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony.
On the other hand, Paul is 38 years of age, and his game has slipped lately.
As recently as a couple of years ago, he was still one of the best in the NBA at his position, and he had the ability to explode for big scoring nights almost at will, even though he’s always been a team player. But it seems like he has lost that ability.
This regular season, he averaged a career-low 13.9 points a game and shot just 44.0 percent from the field, and in the playoffs, those numbers fell to 12.4 points and 41.8 percent field-goal shooting.
Paul has played three seasons in Phoenix, and even though they have been prime title contenders the entire time, each of those seasons has ended in disappointment. They blew a 2-0 series lead in the 2021 NBA Finals, gave up a 3-2 lead in last year’s Western Conference semifinals and fell to the Denver Nuggets in six games this year.