Report: Chris Paul opts out of final year with Suns, will become free agent

Aug 1, 2021, 2:44 PM | Updated: 8:25 pm

Chris Paul #3 of the Phoenix Suns reacts in the second half of game five of the NBA Finals against ...

Chris Paul #3 of the Phoenix Suns reacts in the second half of game five of the NBA Finals against the Milwaukee Bucks at Footprint Center on July 17, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Bucks defeated the Suns 123-119. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

With NBA Free Agency beginning August 2, another big name has hit the open market.

Phoenix Suns point guard Chris Paul has opted out of the final year of his contract, making him a free agent, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports both Paul and the Suns are “motivated to negotiate a new deal” to keep him in Phoenix once the free agency period begins at 3 p.m. MST Monday.

Paul was set to make $44.2 million this year as part of the final year of a four-year contract he signed with the Houston Rockets prior to the 2018 season.

Phoenix acquired the veteran point guard before the 2020-21 season, dealing Kelly Oubre Jr., Ricky Rubio, Ty Jerome, Jalen Lecque and a 2022 first-round pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

In Paul’s first season with the team, the Suns returned to the playoffs for the first time in more than a decade and made the NBA Finals for the first time since 1993 but fell short to the Milwaukee Bucks.

Paul played 70 games during the regular season, averaging 16.4 points per game, adding 4.5 rebounds and 8.9 assists. He made Second Team All-NBA and the All-Star team.

The Suns finished the regular season with a 51-21 record, the best in the Pacific Division and second in the Western Conference.

In their run to the NBA Finals, Paul’s first time ever making it there in his 16-year career, he played in 20 playoff games for the Suns, averaging 19 points and 8.9 assists an outing.

It was a rocky playoffs health-wise for Paul, who dealt with a shoulder injury at the start, was placed in COVID-19 protocols during the Western Conference Finals against the Los Angeles Clippers and also had issues with his hand and wrist.

Paul is one of the best point guards of all time and will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. He made 11 All-Star Games, earned eight First Team All-Defense nods and 10 All-NBA teams.

In the all-time statistical rankings, Paul is fifth in total assists and steals.

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