The Phoenix Suns are keeping Chris Paul after the two sides agree to a four-year deal.
One of the biggest free agents is off the board less than an hour into 2021 NBA free agency, and as expected, he isn’t going anywhere.
As first reported by Yahoo! Sports’ Chris Haynes, the Phoenix Suns have agreed to re-sign Chris Paul to a four-year, $120 million contract after the 11-time All-Star opted out of his $44.2 million player option.
The deal will pay CP3 an average annual salary of $30 million over the next four years, taking him right through his age-40 season.
Chris Paul’s contract with the Phoenix Suns isn’t as bad as it seems
It wasn’t long ago that Paul’s contract was viewed as one of the worst in the NBA. But after being jettisoned to the Oklahoma City Thunder and leading that team to the playoffs, then earning a trade to Phoenix and making his first NBA Finals run with this young Suns core, Paul’s league-wide value was once again as high as it should’ve always been.
Last year in Phoenix, the 36-year-old averaged 16.4 points, 8.9 assists and 4.5 rebounds on 49.9 percent shooting from the field and 39.5 percent from 3-point range. He earned All-Star and All-NBA Second Team honors, and despite dealing with a shoulder stinger and an ailing left wrist that required offseason surgery, Paul upped his game in the Suns’ magical postseason run, posting 19.2 points, 8.6 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game on .497/.446/.877 shooting splits.
It was imperative the Suns brought him back after enjoying their first playoff run since 2010, and they did well to bring him back. A four-year deal seems scary, but Phoenix wisely used a loophole in the NBA’s CBA that deals with the Over-36/Over-38 Rules. As The Four-Point Play’s David Nash expertly explains, through this loophole, the Suns will essentially be able to re-sign Paul to a four-year, $120 million deal, but not all of that fourth year would be guaranteed. If the Suns wanted to reach the $100 million asking price that was initially reported, they could only guarantee $10 million of that fourth season.
So if Paul declines precipitously approaching his age-40 season, or if injuries hamper the twilight of his career, the Suns will still be able to move on after three years. This gives CP3 his asking price, prevents other suitors from circling the wagons and allows the Suns the flexibility of cutting bait down the road if need be. James Jones also did well to bring back Cameron Payne on a three-year, $19 million bargain contract, so the backcourt will remain intact alongside Devin Booker.
Phoenix was one of the best stories in the NBA last season, and this move should make both parties happy as the Suns try to keep this revitalization going.