Chris Paul was not able to lead the Phoenix Suns to an NBA title this season, however, the veteran guard left no question about returning to play another year.
“It will take a while to process this and whatnot, but it’s the same mentality — get back to work,” Paul said in his postgame press conference after the Milwaukee Bucks won the title with a 105-98 victory on Tuesday. “I ain’t retiring if that’s what you’re asking. That’s out. Back to work.”
Paul has a player option for next season that he will likely opt-in for. He’s due more than $44 million if decides to.
“For me it just means back to work. Nothing more, nothing less. There are no moral victories,” Paul said. “We’ve seen what it takes to get here, and hopefully we see what it takes to get past that,” Paul told reporters.
Paul was the glue that held the Suns together this season, transforming Phoenix from a non-playoff squad to a team that was within two wins of an NBA championship. He averaged 18.8 points, 8.7 assists and shot nearly 50% from the field in the postseason.
Suns Wanted to Win Title for Chris Paul
Paul is a future Hall of Famer but a title is the lone hole on his resume. He came close a few times, but this was by far his best shot.
Suns head coach Monty Williams said he really wanted to get a title for Paul and dispel the nonsense that the 11-time All-Star is somehow not among the greats to ever play the game.
“It’s laughable when guys like Chris have these unreal careers, but then they get penalized because they didn’t win a title. That was my goal, was to win it for him a [Devin Booker],” Williams said. “Those guys have carried us all year long and Chris, this is my second time coaching him, I know what he puts into his craft and the dedication. When I hear those sentiments because of his career, because he didn’t win a championship, it’s just silly. It’s hard enough to make it to the NBA, let alone be an all-time great, which is what he is.”
Booker backed up the sentiment from his head coach.
“That’s complete nonsense to the real hoopers out there,” Booker said. “Our group, we supported Chris all the way, he led us the entire season, and this was our first year together.”
Magic Johnson Petitions Paul to Team Up With Lakers
Just hours after the season ended, Magic Johnson was already doing some recruiting for the Lakers, saying LeBron James should give Paul a call immediately if he decides to opt-out and chase a ring.
“If Chris Paul opts out of his contract with the Suns, his first call should be from his best friend LeBron James and the Lakers,” Johnson wrote. “A big three with LeBron, Chris, and AD will equal an NBA championship!”
Paul has been a rumored target of the Lakers for quite some time because of his relationship with James. But without opting out, it’s very unlikely the Lakers could make the numbers work.
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