Most of Valley sports fans woke up to quite the rumor regarding Chris Paul and the Phoenix Suns.
Tuesday night, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and Tom Bontemps reported that the Suns held discussions with the Oklahoma City Thunder about acquiring the All-NBA point guard once the new league year starts.
Windhorst on Wednesday joined Arizona Sports’ Bickley & Marotta to elaborate on the recent rumblings.
“This is a three-sided trade. This is just as much about the Suns having discussions with Chris Paul as it is with the Thunder,” Windhorst said. “From what I understand, the Suns have been given permission to communicate with Chris Paul and before they get into conversations, they’ve talked about trade pieces, but it’s gotta be Chris Paul that goes to the Thunder and says, ‘Phoenix is where I want to be. Let’s try to make a deal.’
“I know Chris Paul has interest in the Suns. It’s a matter of whether he basically says this is where I want to go and that’s probably up to Phoenix and Chris to work that out.”
Paul enters the new year after an All-NBA season in which he led OKC to the playoffs. He averaged 17.6 points and 6.7 assists per game, and was named to the All-Star team for the first time since 2016.
One of the biggest snags that has been brought up is Paul’s price tag. He has two years left on his deal, making $41.4 million rounding up next season and has a $44.2 million player option for the year after. In order for the Suns to swing a trade for the point guard, players like Kelly Oubre Jr. and Ricky Rubio could be the odd men out.
However, Arizona Sports’ John Gambadoro has learned the Thunder do not want any multi-year contracts in return and have no real interest in either Oubre or Rubio.
But even with the cap situation and the prospect that Oubre Jr. and Rubio could be shipped out of town, Windhorst thinks the acquisition certainly outweighs the losses.
Especially if the new addition keeps guard Devin Booker happy as the team looks to return to the playoffs for the first time in a decade.
“What I do know is this, for the Suns to potentially make a deal for an All-NBA player without knee capping themselves with the salary cap — It’s an expensive contract but where their cap is they can afford it quite frankly,” Windhorst said. “And the other thing is they’ve got to send a message to Devin Booker that they’re serious about upgrading the talent. That clock is ticking, no matter what anybody says, that clock is ticking.
“Then you come to the functional reality that this is a young roster that needs a strong voice. … Chris Paul commands the locker room, commands the huddle, he commands the floor, he commands the bus, he commands the plane, everything. He’s all encompassing.”