The NBA offseason is about to kick into overdrive, and the Golden State Warriors have already been credibly tied to a 12-time All-Star currently on a rival roster.
The Dubs are quickly becoming one of the older teams in the league, but that is not likely to stop them from adding 38-year-old Phoenix Suns point guard Chris Paul to the roster should he become available this summer. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Friday, June 9, that the Warriors will be among four big market franchises in the running to sign Paul should the Suns release him into free agency.
“If Chris Paul is out there as a free agent this summer, look at the two teams in L.A., the Clippers and Lakers, the Knicks in New York, the Golden State Warriors — those would all be potential destinations for Chris Paul, who would then sign a deal at a much lower number than the $30 million he’s guaranteed in Phoenix if he stays there past that June 28 deadline,” Wojnarowski said on ESPN’s broadcast before Game 4 of the NBA Finals, per a Twitter video shared by New York Basketball.
Suns Guard Chris Paul Likely to Hit Free Agency This Summer
On June 9, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst spoke about Paul’s situation in Phoenix during the final segment of the Brian Windhorst & The Hoop Collective podcast.
“It appears like Chris Paul’s tenure with the Suns could be coming to an end,” Windhorst said. “The Suns did meet with Chris Paul on Wednesday. They laid out what their situation is, none of it was a surprise to anybody. Chris Paul is very shrewd, he knew this was coming.”
Paul is entering the final season of a four-year, $120 million deal he signed with the Suns ahead of the 2021-22 campaign.
Windhorst went on to say that of the three options for Phoenix — guaranteeing Paul’s full 2023 contract number of more than $30 million, waiving the point guard or waiving Paul and stretching over five years the $15.8 million fully guaranteed in his final contract year — the most likely outcome is that the Suns waive Paul.
“Let’s just be honest, in all likelihood he’s going to get waived because, [as] I just said, it opens up the possibility for [the Suns] to add players, including maybe even keeping [Paul] and adding a player,” Windhorst continued. “And, the other thing, he’s not a $30 million player anymore.”
Chris Paul Would Play Behind Steph Curry, Run Warriors’ Second Unit
If Golden State makes a play for Paul, the 11-time All-NBA selection would likely run the team’s second unit off the bench in a role behind Steph Curry. Dubs analyst Sam Esfandiari dubbed Paul the “2nd unit PG the Warriors need” in a June 7 tweet.
Golden State is already staring down the barrel of a payroll/luxury tax bill between $400-$500 million in 2023-24 if they bring back everyone currently on the roster. As such, Paul would have to come relatively cheap for the Dubs to add him.
However, with $15.8 million guaranteed from the Suns next season even if they release him, Paul can sign with a team for the league minimum and still make a handsome salary in his 19th NBA season. Should the point guard actually depart Phoenix, Windhorst reported that Paul will be looking for two qualities in his next franchise — that it is a contender and is located somewhere close to his family, who reside in L.A.
That makes the Los Angeles Lakers, a team run by Paul’s long-time friend LeBron James, a front-running destination in free agency. The Los Angeles Clippers also fall into that category, as do the Warriors. The New York Knicks would be less appealing to Paul considering their geographic location, per Windhorst’s report.