The Suns collapsed after leading 2-0 and eventually losing the series, 4-2. This was the 4th time in his career that Chris Paul lost a 2-0 lead in the Playoffs. This summer, the Point God will have to ask himself a tough question – at 37, can he win a title with the Suns, or should he join someone else?
CP3 ain’t retiring
Chris Paul just played in his first Finals series in 16 years. It was not the result he wanted, but he cleared any suspicions he would hang it up next year. “I ain’t retiring,” the Suns point guard claimed after the game. But the question remains: where will he play next and until when?
The best financial option for him is staying in Phoenix and playing out the last year of his contract. The Suns will pay him more than $40 million next year, making him the highest-paid player on the roster and one of the highest-paid in the NBA. Paul will turn 37 next season, and the team’s lack of Finals experience showed in the deciding Game 6. How will the Suns’ management address that in the offseason?
What the Suns can offer
Phoenix can offer stability to Chris. Monty Williams will be back, Devin Booker and DeAndre Ayton will be wiser, a lot stronger, a lot more matured. This is what playing in the Finals means for a lot of players. They lose, they learn and they try again next year. Devin Booker is locked in the long term while Ayton is due for an extension in 2023. Cam Johnson, Mikhail Bridges, and Jae Crowder are all under contract as well. If they get a few good bench guys to improve their depth, primarily someone to back up Ayton, the Suns are a lock for the Playoffs again.
Paul can still play at a high level, as evidenced by his postseason performance. The question which begs to be answered is how long he can maintain that level? Can he wait until Ayton and Booker develop their games in one, two or three years? Even with his plant-based diet and newfound youth, Paul yet again played through several injuries. We know about the shoulder, and he obviously had a hand injury in the Finals.
If he decides to chase championships elsewhere, which teams would offer him better chances of winning a chip?
Should the Lakers sign him?
The Lakers will come back strong next season when LeBron James and Anthony Davis are finally healthy and motivated again. The team needs to sort out its point guard dilemma – should they give Dennis Schroeder a long-term deal? His postseason performances left a lot to be desired. If L.A. decides to get another point guard, why not look to sign CP3?
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.— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) July 21, 2021
Paul and James are best buddies. Playing together at the tail end of their careers is an experience both of them would appreciate having. Even if he is old, CP3 is still better than Schroeder playing the point. If he wants to team up with LeBron and take a lesser paycheck next season, he is free to do so.
James and Anthony have more postseason experience than Ayton and Booker. They have a title while the Phoenix boys don’t have it yet, and they know what it takes to win a ring. L.A. may be missing a player from making a run to the finals again. If Paul is free, he should think about this carefully. Time is not on his side anymore, and unlike the Suns, he would be 100% certain he’d be the no.3 option on the Lakers – that’s good when you’re 37, 6’0” on a good day and have a long track record of injury history in the Playoffs. Magic has no doubt it would lead to great things.
A big three with LeBron, Chris, and AD will equal a NBA championship!— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) July 21, 2021
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