Chris Paul is in the twilight of his career, but he still has the skills to help a championship-level team, which is why multiple franchises have been linked to the All-NBA guard.
The Suns reportedly have informed the 38-year-old they will waive him before his $30.8 million salary becomes guaranteed June 28. However, there have been counter reports that have said Paul wants to remain in Phoenix, so it waiving him could be a move to restructure a new deal that helps the team’s cap situation, especially with a more strict collective bargaining agreement looming.
But if the sides aren’t able to work out a deal, teams like the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat and Boston Celtics possibly could make a run at Paul in the open market. But there’s also an idea of a potential sign-and-trade deal with the Philadelphia 76ers for James Harden.
This idea “has quietly circulated” among league executives since the NBA draft combine in May, according to Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer. The deal would reunite Harden with Kevin Durant if the former picks up his player option, which Fischer pointed out is what Paul did in 2017 to join Harden with the Houston Rockets.
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This would depend on what Harden wants. Philadelphia has the All-Star guard’s Bird rights, which means it can offer him a larger extension. Harden also has been rumored for a return to the Rockets, and they have enough cap space to give him a more enticing offer than the Suns would.
However, this obviously would not be great for the Celtics. Not only would they lose out on Paul, but they also would lose him to an Eastern Conference rival in the 76ers. Paul ideally would be a solid fit next to Joel Embiid, and his leadership could provide stability to a young Philadelphia team and emerging guard Tyrese Maxey.
Boston has multiple decisions it could make this offseason, even ones that don’t include whether or not to give Jaylen Brown a supermax contract extension. Damian Lillard seemingly has taken himself out of consideration of joining the Celtics, and the potential to add Paul also could be wiped if his shortlist doesn’t include the Green.
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