Trade rumor rankings: Chris Paul, LeBron James and more

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Now for a report with some actual substance, there’s a chance future Hall-of-Famer Chris Paul’s days in Phoenix could be numbered.

First word we got on the matter came from Haynes, who reported the Suns had actually already informed Paul he would be waived prior to the June 28 guarantee date on his contract for 2023-24.

That was then somewhat rebuked by both Wojnarowski and Shams Charania, who each reported the Suns were still working through their various options, including Phoenix waiving Paul or trading him this offseason (via The Athletic and ESPN.)

In addition, even if the Suns do waive Paul, it could be an NFL-type maneuver in which they stretch and waive the guaranteed money left on his deal only to re-sign him once he clears waivers, which he very likely will, as it’s hard to see a team with the cap space and willingness to pick up the two years and $61.6 million left on his contract.

NBA legend Isiah Thomas, who some around the league believe might quietly be advising new Suns owner Mat Ishbia, went on NBA TV before Game 3 of the 2023 NBA Finals to tell viewers not to rule out the possibility of Phoenix waiving Paul only to re-sign him.

If Paul does get waived, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst mentioned his likeliest landing spots are in Los Angeles, with either the Clippers or Lakers, or back with Phoenix:

Windhorst: I think Chris Paul’s future is in one of two places. One is Los Angeles, be it the Lakers or the Clippers. Both teams potentially need a point guard, their point guards on both teams are free agents, Russell Westbrook and D’Angelo Russell. And it’s not out of the realm of possibility, I think it’s worth pointing out, that the Suns could bring him back. It would be an NFL-style restructuring where his contract is paid out of its partial guarantee and they bring him back for a lesser salary. So I would bet on L.A. or Phoenix is his contract is bought out.

Wojnarowski said the same during a TV hit of his own prior to Game 3 of the Finals:

Adrian Wojnarowski: Now, Chris Paul wants to remain with the Suns. He wants to be back with Devin Booker, with Kevin Durant. But right now, for the Suns, they want to look at a lot of alternatives. Some options between now and the 28th, including trade possibilities. They’re going to have talks about Deandre Ayton. Can they move money around that can allow them to keep Chris Paul on that roster? Or find a trade so they can build out their depth. But I’m told Chris Paul and his reps want an answer sooner than that June 28 deadline. They want to know if they’re headed into free agency, where he would be certainly very coveted, especially with the two Los Angeles teams, the Clippers and the Lakers, where he still keeps his offseason home.

Nevertheless, Paul remains one of the best playmakers in the game despite his advanced age, so if he does get waived, it’ll be fascinating to see where he might end up, be it back with Phoenix or elsewhere.

As mentioned by Wojnarowski, Paul wants to remain with the Suns to try and make a run with Kevin Durant and Devin Booker, so this situation could truly go in a multitude of different directions.

For the latest Chris Paul trade rumors, click here.

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