Suns' Updated Salary Cap Info After Chris Paul, Cameron Payne Free Agency Contracts

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVAugust 3, 2021

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 30: Chris Paul #3 celebrates with Cameron Payne #15 of the Phoenix Suns during Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals of the 2021 NBA Playoffs on June 30, 2021 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)
Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

The Phoenix Suns are running it back. 

The team reportedly agreed to a four-year, $120 million deal with Chris Paul (Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN) and a three-year, $19 million deal with Cameron Payne (Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports). 

The point guard position could have been a major area of need if those two departed in free agency. Instead, it remains a huge strength.

Those moves, along with the trade that brought them Landry Shamet in exchange for Jevon Carter and the No. 29 overall pick, brings the Suns to an estimated $112.9 million in salaries for the 2021-22 season, a touch over the $112.4 million salary cap for the upcoming campaign. 

That figure will change as the Suns fill out their roster and potentially make another trade on the fringes of the roster. But bringing back Paul and Payne was likely the team's biggest business for the summer. 

Paul, 36, averaged 16.4 points and 8.9 assists last season. His playmaking transformed Phoenix's offense, allowing Devin Booker the freedom to focus more on being the team's lead scorer. 

Payne, 26, added 8.4 points and 3.6 assists off the bench. He shined in the postseason, reaching double-digit points in eight games, including a 29-point outburst against the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals. That was huge, considering Paul missed that game while in the NBA's health and safety protocols.

The Suns have an excellent foundation to build upon. Paul and Booker comprise one of the best backcourts in the NBA. The 23-year-old Deandre Ayton is only scratching the surface of his potential. The Suns have a solid foundation of role players in Mikal Bridges, Jae Crowder, Cameron Johnson, Dario Saric and Payne. 

That core group got the Suns to the NBA Finals this past season, where they fell short in six games to the Milwaukee Bucks. But in Booker (24), Ayton, Bridges (25) and Johnson (25), the Suns have a group of players that can grow and improve together, all alongside vets like Paul, Crowder, Payne and Saric. 

Phoenix's season ended in disappointment, but their window to contend is wide open.