The NBA world was at a loss for words when the Phoenix Suns made the shocking move of cutting Chris Paul from the team. Despite Paul showing some signs of regression last season and struggling to stay on the court when the team needed him most, no one saw the front office releasing him. At most, there was some speculation that he would be a part of a sign and trade during the offseason, however, letting him walk for nothing was a very surprising move from the Suns.
With Paul still having a fair amount left in the tank despite being set to turn 38 years old next season, there are still many teams that would love to have him on their roster. While he may begin to transition to a 6th man as he continues to age, there are still three contenders that would be perfect landing spots for Paul.
The first team that could make a run for Chris Paul in free agency is the Los Angeles Lakers. This would be an incredible pairing on a multitude of levels. This move would allow LeBron James and Paul to share the court together. James and Paul are extremely close friends off the court, and Paul is even the godfather of James’s eldest son Bronny James.
With both players being at the tail end of their careers and hungry to pick up a championship or two before they call it a career, this pairing could lead them both to turn back the clock a bit. They are some of the best passers that the game has ever seen and make the game much easier for their teammates. Adding Paul to the team could cause Anthony Davis to develop into the first option that the Lakers have been attempting to mold him into for the past few seasons.
Another team that would be a very solid landing spot for Paul is the Los Angeles Clippers. Paul had some of his best seasons with the Clippers during the “Lob City” era. While those days are well behind us, Paul could still be a key piece to the Clippers finally piecing together a deep playoff run with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
Since Leonard and George joined the team, they have attempted to bring in a point guard that can round out a big three. After giving John Wall and Russell Westbrook a chance, Paul may end up being the right fit for the team. While he has fallen off as a scorer, he is still an incredible distributor.
The biggest concern with Paul joining this team is his availability. Both Leonard and George have struggled to remain healthy enough to get a vast amount of time on the court together. Along with this, by the time the postseason comes around, neither star is typically playing at 100% if they are ever able to suit up. With Paul’s vast history of injuries in the playoffs, it could be a bit risky to add another injury-prone star to the team.
Despite this, if the trio of Leonard, George, and Paul were able to remain healthy through a playoff run, they would be more than capable of making a Finals appearance and potentially even bringing the first title in franchise history to the Clippers.
Despite just releasing Paul from their roster, there is a chance that he will rejoin the team. If Paul were to resign with the Suns, it would make the move of releasing him make much more sense and show that he was in on the plan the entire time.
If the Suns do resign the veteran point guard, they would be able to take the cap hit from his contract this season and bring him back on a much more team-friendly deal on what could possibly be the last contract of his career. This would allow the Suns to make some noise in the 2024 free-agency class if they are able to move Deandre Ayton. This would allow them to bring in big-name players like LeBron James, who could hit free agency in 2024.
The Suns already have a star-studded roster, however, they were exposed in the playoffs for having a lack of depth. If they choose to pass on bringing in a star with the cap space they save from resigning Paul, they could end up making the team much more well-rounded and filling out their bench.
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