Chris Paul Rumors: Suns, PG 'Motivated' to Get Contract Done at Start of Free Agency

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVAugust 2, 2021

Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul dribbles the ball against the Los Angeles Lakers during the second half of Game 2 of their NBA basketball first-round playoff series Tuesday, May 25, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

The Phoenix Suns and Chris Paul are mutually "motivated" to agree to terms on a new contract soon after the free-agent negotiating period begins at 6 p.m. ET Monday, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported Sunday that Paul was turning down his $44.2 million player option for 2021-22.

Bleacher Report's Jake Fischer reported Saturday that the New Orleans Pelicans hoped to signing Paul, but he "appears all but destined to return to Phoenix." According to Sam Amick of The Athletic, that sentiment is shared by some executives around the NBA.

Paul averaged 16.4 points and 8.9 assists and helped guide the Suns to the NBA Finals. He's now in line for a potential deal worth at least $90 million over three years, per Fischer.

A three-year pact for a player who turned 36 recently always carries some risk. The back end of that contract could get rough, especially if the salary escalates each year instead of declines.

But the Suns or other Paul suitors will have to offer him something like that to get him to sign. He could have otherwise picked up his player option if he was content to accept a massive short-term payday.

Even if Paul begins to noticeably decline, three years is still a sensible deal to strike because it wouldn't burden Phoenix much into the future. That would match up nicely with the remainder of Devin Booker's contract, too.

Booker is due to become a free agent in 2024, so he'd be hitting the market at the same time as Paul. The Suns would then be able to reassess their roster and determine how best to continue building around Booker and Deandre Ayton from there.