The Phoenix Suns made a miraculous run to the NBA Finals this past season in their first trip to the playoffs in over a decade. Praise has rightfully been given to head coach Monty Williams and rising young talents Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton, but a lot of the credit for the remarkable year goes to just one man: Chris Paul.
The veteran point guard joined the Suns through a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder last November and instantly made an impact on an otherwise inexperienced roster. Paul was instrumental in mentoring Ayton and Phoenix’s young core, while still proving to be an elite scorer and facilitator during the season’s biggest moments. At the age of 36, he averaged 16.4 points and 8.9 assists per game during the regular season with .495/.395/.934 shooting splits.
Paul’s leadership and playmaking earned him a Second-Team All-NBA nod, as he powered the Suns to the second-best regular season record in the league. He nearly pulled off the highly improbable and brought a championship back to Phoenix, but the wear-and-tear of an accelerated season finally showed during his team’s 4-2 Finals loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.
Although the Suns year didn’t end how they hoped, Paul left the franchise’s loyal fanbase with a season to remember. On Tuesday, exactly a week after the conclusion of the NBA Finals, he wrote a brief, yet heartfelt message to fans in Phoenix.
“Thank you to Phoenix and all the fans on a great season!! Back to work,” Paul wrote on Twitter.
— Chris Paul (@CP3) July 27, 2021
Paul’s message will also surely contribute to the flurry of offseason buzz surrounding him. Reports have connected the veteran point guard to the Lakers, which has cast uncertainty on where he’ll play his fifteenth season in the NBA.
Paul still has a player option worth $44.6 million that would keep him with the Suns through the 2021-22 campaign, should he exercise it. Given his age, that kind of money is a tempting offer, but he may choose to decline the option and pursue a longer deal that will give him security through the end of his career.
That means Paul could be looking for a new three or four-year contract this offseason. After his remarkable year in Phoenix, the Suns will be among the frontrunners to land the 11-time All Star.
However, Paul could shock the NBA and choose to join a different contender. With his playing days coming to an end soon, the legendary point guard has expressed his desire to win a championship, which could pull him elsewhere later this summer.