EMPIRE OF THE SUNS

Suns’ attention turns toward Chris Paul’s decision after NBA Draft

Jul 29, 2021, 9:59 PM | Updated: Jul 30, 2021, 4:42 pm
Chris Paul #3 of the Phoenix Suns rests during the second half in Game Two of the NBA Finals agains...
Chris Paul #3 of the Phoenix Suns rests during the second half in Game Two of the NBA Finals against the Milwaukee Bucks at Phoenix Suns Arena on July 08, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — The 2021 NBA Draft came and went without a selection by the Phoenix Suns after they traded the 29th pick to the Brooklyn Nets as a part of a deal to acquire guard Landry Shamet, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

But the questions coming general manager James Jones’ way after the draft were always going to be more centered around the upcoming weeks regardless of a new rookie Sun coming aboard or not.

The biggest item on the agenda isn’t even one they can necessarily control right now, with point guard Chris Paul having a player option of $44.2 million to decline or accept by Sunday before the Suns move forward to what’s next.

That’s what Jones said on Thursday night.

“I think Robert talked about it earlier this week. Chris has an option he has to pick up or decline. We’ll cover that when we get there,” he said.  “That starts on Monday, free agency. Monday the 2nd, we’ll have a chance to talk to him.

“We’ll know what his decision is at that point in time but I think what we have is enticing. I think he likes being here (and) we like having him here. I’m confident that we’ll be able to have a conversation, hopefully, in the coming days that will make everyone happy.”

Jones went on to call Paul’s value “immeasurable” with the care that the 36-year-old point guard has for the growth of his teammates in a separate answer.

Paul could decline the option to simply get a whole new deal done with the Suns, or he could first peruse his possibilities in unrestricted free agency.

The move with Brooklyn will bring in Shamet, with Phoenix guard Jevon Carter also headed to the Nets.

Jones couldn’t comment on the full trade, as that has yet to be finalized, but spoke on how the front office approached draft day.

“We were just monitoring how things were shaking out in the draft,” he said. “Seeing if there was an opportunity for us get back in, be opportunistic, find a player that could match the profile of the players that would thrive here. So we went into today thinking how could we continue to build a team, add some more experience and at the same time, add a little more size.

“We took the day to explore those options and we ended up doing something I think that will benefit us in the long run.”

The Suns weren’t able to add that size on Thursday but did get another player that matches that profile in Shamet.

“A lot of guys went and fell farther than they expected,” Jones said of how the draft unfolded. “Just their talent didn’t really match where they were drafted, but for us, it’s coming out of the draft with a player that can contribute and I think we did that in a roundabout way.”

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