The outlook in Phoenix is still bright as Chris Paul returns to Suns – ProBasketballTalk
NBC Sports’ Dan Feldman rates each team’s offseason based on where the team now stands in relation to their position in the offseason. A ‘C’ means a team has a similar stand, with notches up or down.
Chris Paul turned the Suns from a marginal playoff qualifier to a two-win championship team. He revitalized Phoenix and broke its decade-long post-season drought with a trip to the NBA Finals and transformed the franchise’s reputation within the NBA.
What if he asked for a maximum contract: four years, $ 194,551,861 with full warranty?
How could the suns say no? How did they break all of their positive dynamics? How could you sell the decision to fans and other players who are thrifty?
Fortunately, it was unnecessary for Phoenix to make that choice. The Suns signed Paul for a bargain of $ 120 million over four years with a $ 75 million guarantee.
That’s still expensive for a 36-year-old who seemed to be in decline a few years ago. Players his age cannot be relied on to keep them productive.
But losing Paul would have been disastrous. Well worth paying him for the chance to stay in the title fight. Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton, and Mikal Bridges are likely poised to lead a winner and could soon be capable of even more. But Paul is putting this group above the top at the moment.
Apart from the all-important re-signing by Paul, Phoenix tinkered with the backend of his rotation.
The Suns signed Cameron Payne for just three years, $ 19 million ($ 14.5 million guaranteed). I’m surprised it came so cheaply. Although he received most of the attention for advancing to the playoffs with Paul, the 27-year-old has been thriving since the bubble. This is a large enough sample to dispel many of the doubts that arose from his early career struggles.
Payne will have a new replacement backcourt vice president, Landry Shamet, who has been taken over by the Nets for Jevon Carter and number 29. As a specialist in 3-point shoots, Shamet should be an upgrade over E’Twaun Moore (Magic) and Langston Galloway (unsigned).
Phoenix took advantage of its mid-level exemption at JaVale McGee (one year, $ 5 million). If he’s still able to play, McGee will fit in as a backup center – the primary option while Dario Saric is sidelined, then as a bigger alternative when Saric returns. But the point is that 33-year-old McGee didn’t crack the Nuggets playoff rotation last season.
Frank Kaminsky (newly signed up for at least one year) also takes into account the rotation of the backup center. Abdel Nader (newly signed for two years, $ 4.16 million) brings versatility to the wing. Elfrid Payton (with a minimum commitment of one year) will be appointed as the third point guard after spending the last season as the starter of the Knicks.
Everything fits together so that the suns have a nice depth.
Because they got the top of the list right by re-signing Paul.
Phoenix came from a Western Conference crown and didn’t need major upgrades. The young core of the suns should continue to improve. They just had to keep Paul, and they did.
Off-season grade: B-