Chris Paul says he wants to stay in Phoenix as Suns mull his future
Jun 15, 2023, 12:12 PM
Just more than a week after reports surfaced that said the Phoenix Suns will consider releasing Chris Paul, the veteran point guard told the Arizona Republic’s Duane Rankin that he would like to remain with the team.
“Absolutely. That’s why I’m there,” Paul told Rankin on Thursday in an interview about the release of his new book, “Sixty-One: Life Lessons From Papa, On And Off The Court.”
“I’ve talked with my family, we’ve had conversations about what could be, what might be,” Paul added. “I’ve talked with my agent. Talked to my brother (C.J. Paul).”
Bleacher Report’s Chris Haynes on June 7 reported Paul was told he would be released, but additional reports thereafter only indicated the team had not yet determined how to handle his contract.
Paul is set to make $30.8 million for the 2023-24 season with $30 million more on the books for 2024-25, but only $15.8 million is guaranteed if he’s waived by a June 28 deadline.
The Suns could release him outright and re-sign the 38-year-old to a veteran’s minimum deal, though that amount and the $15.8 million would still bog down their already expensive salary cap.
Phoenix could also release and then stretch the remaining $15.8 million owed on the contract out for equal amounts in each of the next five seasons. The Suns could not re-sign Paul in that case, but stretching would save them the most cap space, giving them the ability to potentially get under the luxury tax to open up the non-taxpayer midlevel exception of more than $12 million.
Paul averaged 13.9 points, 4.3 rebounds and 8.9 assists per game last year.
Postseason injuries cropped up in all three of Paul’s seasons with the Suns. In 2021 after he made All-NBA Second Team, Paul injured his right shoulder. While coming down with COVID-19 that year, he also had an apparent hand injury. Surgery was required to repair partially torn ligaments.
Last season, Paul’s effectiveness dropped off in the second round in a loss to the Dallas Mavericks. ESPN’s Marc J. Spears reported a left quad injury hampered the point guard.
Then in May, Paul strained his left groin during the conference semifinals against the Denver Nuggets and missed the last four games of a series Phoenix lost.