The Denver Nuggets are two wins away from winning the NBA Finals, and their two-time NBA Most Valuable Player, Nikola Jokic, adding yet another accolade to his already decorated career. But even with Jokic having accomplished as much as he has, some are hesitant to label him a superstar because of his unorthodox style of play.
Usually, it is the long-range shooting of Steph Curry or the out-of-this-world athleticism of LeBron James on display in these NBA Finals. But this year, it is Jokic with a style of play that you usually see from some marketing executive at your local YMCA.
Adding a championship and possibly a Finals MVP Award to his trophy case would no doubt put Jokic in the conversation for one of the greatest big men in NBA History. But as far as being considered a star, Phoenix Suns forward Kevin Durant doesn’t believe that is high on Jokic’s list of priorities.
“I don’t think Jokic wants or care to be a star,” Durant said on June 7 in a tweet that has since been deleted via ESPN. “ Go to work, go home, facetime his horses, and hop in the pool.”
Suns Meet With Chris Paul to Discuss Future
After losing convincingly to Jokic and the Nuggets in the second round of the playoffs, the Suns got a head start on retooling their organizational structure. That started with firing former head coach Monty Williams, who recently accepted a job with the Detroit Pistons. He got replaced by Frank Vogel, who led the Los Angeles Lakers to a title in 2020.
As the NBA free agency period draws closer, the Suns are turning their attention to altering their roster construction. Per ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski, the Suns met with starting point guard Chris Paul to discuss his future, including the possibility that they could waive him.
“Phoenix Suns’ ownership and executives had a series of conversations with Chris Paul and his representatives on the All-Star point guard’s future with the franchise Wednesday, including the possibility that he could be waived by the NBA’s June 28 guarantee date on his contract,” Wojnarowski writes.
“The Suns insist that they’re still working through several possibilities for Paul’s future and reiterated that to his representatives later Wednesday afternoon, sources said. Phoenix plans to explore trade opportunities including Paul and Deandre Ayton that could alter the franchise’s roster landscape ahead of a final decision on Paul’s partially guaranteed contract”
Waiving Chris Paul Gives Suns Cap Flexibility
Per Wojnarowski, Paul is owed $30.8 million this season. However, his contract is only partially guaranteed, so if he is waived, it would free up roughly $15 million in cap space.
That cap space could be used to build around Durant and Devin Booker. And after a playoff run where they were beaten handily by the Nuggets in the second round and struggled to get past a Clippers team without Kawhi and Paul George in the first round, it is clear that this Suns roster needs to get a lot better if they want to compete for a title.
There is also a possibility that Paul could be waived and brought back on a restructured deal. It is something to keep an eye on.