CP’s 3-Year Extension | A Suns’ Sign & Trade

Updated: July 21, 2021
cp3 trade

It’s always a blasphemous proposition to put the commander of a Finals squad on the block, but here it is. It is being written with the series 3-2 heading back to Milwaukee for a game 6. Regardless of the outcome or performances by CP3, Giannis, or Booker, it is not in the young Suns’ best interest to hand a 3-year extension to a 36-year-old injury-prone 6-foot-tall point guard. Although many across the league had put MVP votes on Chris Paul’s name, it is Devin Booker who is the future of the Phoenix franchise. As heroic as these playoffs have been for the Point-God, the odds the 2022 postseason plays out the same for a Chris Paul Suns team is heavily unlikely. If CP3 were willing to simply sign his 44-million-dollar player option, then the obvious move would be just to run it back as is.

However, as it has already been reported that he will be looking for a 3-year extension somewhere in the ballpark of a hundred million, it may prove to be problematic to get tide into a window centered around an aging guard. There is a mutually beneficial exchange between Philly and Phoenix which matches their timelines. But first, it must be outlined why Phoenix would send away one of the most clutch players in the NBA for a big who was sat in the final minutes of an elimination game. Below is the case for a Simmons package for CP3.

Health & Athleticism

Much has been made about Paul’s plant-based diet and the overall impact it has made on his durability. The fact is though, that Chris Paul has been banged up in every recent playoff run he’s been a part of including this Finals run. If it weren’t for a sidelined Anthony Davis and a hobbled Lebron James, it would’ve been the Chris Paul shoulder that sent Phoenix home in a first-round exit. In this series against the Bucks, his wrists and hands have limited his ability to perform as a facilitator, as one of the best turnover to assist ratio point guards in NBA history has at times been forced off-ball due to his recklessness with the basketball. And everyone still remembers the Golden State hamstring series. We are seeing it in the Iron Man King James, that Father Time is still undefeated. Why CP3 going vegan could be the cure for aging is quite a dubious proposition to bet the future of the Suns’ franchise on.

The fact is, with his lack of explosion even when healthy he, doesn’t want to get to the basket. He lives and dies at his beloved spot in the midrange pull up and fade away which the Bucks have shown can be taken away in the playoffs. Each year with more tread on the tires, especially from this deep taxing title run, the wheels on the Point-God will continue to wear down. There is not a single player in NBA history at the age of 37 to ever be a tier 1 caliber guard. Why would it be assumed that an undersized point guard who has consistently been injury-prone throughout his career would be the player to break this trend? 37, 38, 39, would be the age the Suns would have CP3 on the books for on a near-max contract. It might be a necessary route if they didn’t already have such an obvious alternative.

Fit & Booker

With the emergence of Ayton and the full-blown arrival of Devin Booker, the Suns would have a bright future even if CP3 walked for nothing this offseason. Much has been made about the comparison between Paul and Cam Payne since he is their official backup point guard off the bench, but the future of Phoenix should be with Booker as their primary facilitator. Because of his unique strengths off-ball, the assumption is that a pass-first point guard is what Booker needs, but in this series, when push-came-to-shove, Monty continued to put the keys in Devin’s hands at the beginning of possessions. The only way that his ability to develop into an elite read, drive, and kick artist, is to consistently have him on ball.

We have seen when Booker or Payne run the offense, the overall fluidity of the Suns’ ball movement looks effortless. And because of CP3’s defensive liability as an undersized guard, if he is not on ball dribbling and slowly commanding, his value on the floor becomes heavily diminished. If the Suns truly think that the 2022 season is all that matters, then their best chances for a title would probably be to bring Paul back, however long term, Booker’s development would presumably be stunted by the Chris Paul show.

What they Receive

If this exchange would have been put in the trade machine a year back from OKC to Philly, it would’ve looked like the workings of a madman. But with Simmons’ value at an all-time low, and the 76ers in a win-now mode for the Embiid window, there are arguments this wouldn’t be enough to fetch CP3 from Phoenix. But let’s assume that it is. The Suns are a good team defensive team but lack an elite on-ball defender and also lack talent and depth at the 5 outside of the Ayton minutes. Ben Simmons would hopefully fill both of those gaps. Phoenix has looked like two different teams with Ayton on and off the floor. The addition of Ben would allow the Suns to play small with Simmons at the 5 in the non-Ayton minutes and playing huge once they are on the floor together. If Monty Williams could get Ben to be the player he is meant to be, a super role player, his impact could be tremendous with the amount of versatility his role could bring to the Suns. The gamble hedges its bets on a change of scenery having a positive impact on the 6-foot-10 defensive monster who currently can’t hit a free throw.

Tyrese Maxey has looked like he will soon be a starting-caliber guard and would benefit from being in the developmental style system under Williams. Ideally, Cam Payne would continue being the microwave 6th man and Maxey would develop into the Suns starting 2-guard. It would be a tremendous amount of value for a guy they got for almost nothing a year ago from Oklahoma.

Why the Sixers Comply

For all that was said above about Chris Paul, for one team in the league, none of that matters, and that’s the 76ers. They are in dire need of a tier 1 playmaker now. Although Joel Embiid is still young, with his health chart, his prime years are numbered with his expiration date unknown. Although they would need the anomaly of Embiid and CP3 to both simultaneously have a healthy title run, if the stars were to align, they may be the team in the East. The Doc Rivers variable may be an issue, but it appears that CP3 wasn’t the primary problem of those Lob-City Clippers teams. Of course, Lowry would cost substantially less, but if the Sixers are going to finally move off of the Simmons train, it should be for a player that actually makes them a threat to the title…this move does just that.

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