The Los Angeles Lakers are on the market for a new point guard. Their search is reportedly including Chris Paul in a potential blockbuster acquisition. Paul had the season of a lifetime during the 2020-21 season. Despite losing in the finals, he managed to aid a Suns team enduring a playoff drought all the way to the NBA finals. All in his first season in Phoenix and while still contributing greatly on the court.
However, the Suns’ shot this year may be the franchise’s only one for the near future. At the season’s start, the Lakers and Brooklyn Nets emerged as initial title favorites. Both teams suffered injuries to key players, and as a result, both suffered early exits in the playoffs. The Los Angeles Lakers even fell to the Suns in the first round of the playoffs.
Now, in the aftermath of heartbreak for Phoenix, it is unclear whether Paul will remain a Sun. Rumors emerged of the Lakers potentially pursuing Paul. His play and veteran presence is needed in LA, who suffered much of the season without a “true” point guard after LeBron James’ injury.
If Paul declines his $44.2 million player option, he could enter free agency. That would only make his departure from Phoenix more plausible for potential suitors. The question remains whether Paul seeks money or another shot at a title.
Currently, given money constrictions in the team, LA would only offer Paul $9.5 million. Clearly, this is a stark contrast to the potential $44 million that he could earn next year if he stays in Phoenix.
Paul is now 36 and without a title in his career. If the Lakers and Nets remain healthy next year, Paul’s Suns might not stand a chance at another title run. He can contribute on any team, but where he ends up next year is still up in the air.