Suns Set to Part Ways With $120 Million Star: Report

Deandre Ayton and Chris Paul of the Phoenix Suns

Getty Chris Paul (left) and Deandre Ayton of the Phoenix Suns.

When the Phoenix Suns parted ways with former head coach Monty Williams after the season ended, some fans wondered if the roster would also get a makeover and what that would look like. Those fans got their answer on June 7, as NBA insider Chris B. Haynes of Bleacher Report announced that the Suns are waiving their starting point guard Chris Paul.

“Phoenix Suns have notified star, Chris Paul, that he will be waived, making the future Hall of Famer one of the top free agents this offseason,” Haynes tweeted on June 7.

Chris Paul to the Lakers?

Sure, Paul is not the same player that he used to be. But after a season where he averaged 13.9 points, 8.9 assists, and 1.5 steals per game, he is still a better point guard than most of the NBA. And after securing a buyout from the Suns, the All-NBA guard will be able to go to a destination of his choosing.

Paul, at 38 years old, is still looking to capture that ever-elusive first NBA title he has been chasing his entire career. So, the reality is that his list of preferred destinations will be a short one. This decision is critical for the All-Star point guard as it could realistically be his last shot at winning a title.

The team that first comes to mind is the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers were unceremoniously swept out of the playoffs by the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals this year. And although Los Angeles beat two quality opponents in the Memphis Grizzlies and Golden State Warriors, it was clear that they were no match for the Nuggets, who will likely be a force to be reckoned with for years to come.

Like Paul, LeBron is aging, and father time is still undefeated. LeBron is still arguably the best player in the NBA, but he does not have the same burst in his first step after suffering numerous foot and ankle injuries over the years. Adding Paul to the roster would alleviate the playmaking responsibilities from LeBron and gift him a lob target like Anthony Davis. The formula could be successful for the Lakers.

Should Chris Paul Consider Bucks?

Another potential free agency destination that Paul may want to consider choosing once he is waived, is the Milwaukee Bucks. Ironically, it was the Bucks who beat Paul and the Suns during his lone NBA Finals appearance in 2021.

But like the Suns, the Bucks have not returned to the NBA Finals since 2021. They have not even made it past the second round, highlighted by their first-round elimination at the hands of the eighth-seeded Miami Heat this year.

One thing on display in that first-round series with Miami was that the Bucks, desperately need to have a more balanced game plan. Milwaukee seemed to have two offensive options – jack up contested threes or let Giannis Antetokounmpo barrel his way into a clogged paint, usually resulting in an offensive foul.

Having Paul as a facilitator not only would give Milwaukee a player who can run a half-court offense but would take away the playmaking responsibility from Jrue Holiday and allow him to focus on defending the opposing team’s best offensive player.

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