PHOENIX SUNS

Report: Suns currently see Chris Paul returning; Lue, Clippers in talks

May 17, 2023, 10:13 AM

Chris Paul, Phoenix Suns...

Chris Paul #3 of the Phoenix Suns handles the ball during the second half of the NBA game at Footprint Center on March 29, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Timberwolves 107-100. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Phoenix Suns at this moment appear likely to bring back Chris Paul for 2023-24, reports Bleacher Report’s Chris Haynes.

Paul’s contract is guaranteed for only $15.8 million of $30.8 million total. The Suns could get off half that total by waiving him and have the ability to stretch the remainder of his contract over the next several years. The team has a June 28 deadline to make a final call.

Haynes reports that “the franchise is currently of the mindset that Paul will open up next season as the team’s starting point guard, sources say.”

Talk of waiving Paul has been presumptive to this point but fair considering his age, 38, and injury history. Paul sat out the final four games of a six-game series loss to the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference semifinals due to a groin injury this season.

He averaged 13.9 points and 8.9 assists per game on 44% shooting during the regular season.

“My contract not up,” Paul said last week when asked if he’d be back next season. “But unfortunately, I’m not the GM or anything like that. We’ll see.”

If Paul’s contract is guaranteed heading into July, that will only shift the conversation to center Deandre Ayton. He will make $32.5 million in 2023-24 with two more years on his contract after that.

But because the Suns only have six players currently under contract with at least partially guaranteed deals for next year, filling in rotation spots and opening cap space to gain more exception money to spend could be needed. And the best avenues to free up money is moving on from either or both of Paul or Ayton.

However, finding upgrades from Paul or Ayton using that money would be highly unlikely.

Ty Lue’s reps met with Clippers

Multiple reports indicate the Suns could pursue current Clippers coach Ty Lue to fill the head-coaching job after Phoenix fired Monty Williams on Saturday.

But Lue has two years left on his contract with Los Angeles, and his representatives met with the Clippers this week to discuss his future.

“If both sides were to agree to an expanding the pact, it would likely come in the form of a new deal rather than an extension,” Haynes’ sources told him.

The 46-year-old Lue remains in positive standing with Clippers owner Steve Ballmer, Haynes adds.

His tenure has been sidetracked the past three seasons due to injuries to stars Paul George and Kawhi Leonard.

Young could interview with Suns next week

Haynes adds that Suns associate head coach Kevin Young, Williams’ top assistant, could interview with the team as early as next week. The reporter adds that “many” Suns players back Young.

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