Top Landing Spots for Chris Paul When Waived by Phoenix Suns
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Top Landing Spots for Chris Paul When Waived by Phoenix Suns

Jan 31, 2024

Chris Paul is leaving the Phoenix Suns.


League sources told Bleacher Report's Chris Haynes the "Suns have notified star Chris Paul that he will be waived, making the future Hall of Famer one of the top free agents this offseason."

The 38-year-old had a $15.8 million partial guarantee on his $30.8 million for next season. Haynes followed this up by noting the point guard "plans to play several more years and is eager to help a team contend for a championship."

Naturally, it's time to spit out and analyze the best possible landing spots for CP3—who, by the way, remains an extremely helpful player bound to incite gobs of interest.

Destinations will be spotlighted after weighing a super (un)scientific combination of roster fit and needs, proximity to title contention and, in some cases, whether a prospective suitor can offer the aptly dubbed Point God more than a minimum deal.

Finally, as Brian Windhorst noted on The Hoop Collective Podcast, the Suns would be waiving CP3 with the intention to re-sign him at a smaller number. But that's only if they eat his entire partial guarantee. They can't stretch that $15.8 million and then also bring him back. With that in mind, we're excluding them from this exercise because Haynes' reporting was drowning in a sense of finality.

Ready? Set? Let's speculate.

The Boston Celtics have built a championship contender, verging on powerhouse, without an alpha passer or offensive organizer.

Imagine what they could do with Chris Paul.

Jayson Tatum is incredible, and he has made strides as a passer. He's not a primary playmaker. The same goes for Malcolm Brogdon. And Derrick White. And Marcus Smart. And Jaylen "Look At That Assist To Turnover Ratio" Brown.

CP3 would be the perfect addition for an offense that, despite ranking third in half-court efficiency, too often descended into turbulence. There is inherent variability when teams depend on the three-ball as much as the Celtics do, but they are too easily nudged away from their best practices and into turnover tumults when shots aren't falling or the rate of play slows.

Boston would have to navigate some hierarchal concerns if CP3 joins the fold. His penchant for ball dominance can be a disruptor. But he's spent more time away from the action over the past two seasons, and all of the Celtics' core players have ample experience working off-ball.

Paying CP3 may be the bigger challenge. Boston will have second-apron concerns depending on how much Grant Williams costs in restricted free agency. That shouldn't rule the Celtics out, but they become a much more enticing landing spot if they can access all or part of the mini mid-level exception.

Reasonable minds can disagree on whether the L.A. Clippers actually need a point guard. The team clearly thinks it does. Kawhi Leonard made as much known around the trade deadline, and L.A. scooped up Russell Westbrook off the buyout market and then relied upon him heavily, often at the expense of seemingly better players.

This "Get the Clippers a point guard!" obsession is at once overstated and perfectly sensible. The full-strength version of this squad doesn't need a ball-dominant playmaker to direct its offense. The full-strength version of this squad also seems mythical at times.

Leonard and Paul George can steward an offense on their own. But that rings hollow when they yet again played in less than half the team's games together, and when neither was at head coach Ty Lue's disposal by the middle of the first round.

Paul has the IQ, vision and supervisory chops to navigate staggered minutes. Playing in tandem with Leonard and George would require functional concessions—most notably spending even more time off the ball and actually launching more spot-up threes. That's not unworkable.

Whether the Clippers can afford Paul remains to be seen. Their payroll exceeds the second luxury-tax apron, so they won't have their mid-level. Paul will have richer offers than the league minimum. Can the Clippers promise him a prominent enough role to overcome that? And do they actually prefer him to Westbrook's rim pressure? (They should.)

Chris Paul joining the Los Angeles Lakers makes sense if only so he can announce the decision citing "basketball reasons" as the driving force.

He wouldn't just be trolling the year 2011 and the NBA's late commissioner David Stern, either. There are plenty of basketball reasons behind a prospective union with the Purple and Gold.

CP3's close ties with LeBron James are part of the equation. More than that, the Lakers desperately need another offensive organizer. They'd likely prefer said floor general take the form of someone younger than 38, but Paul can still effectively steer an offense even if he doesn't have the same off-the-dribble shiftiness.

Any relief the Lakers can offer LeBron James is a godsend. D'Angelo Russell, a free agent himself, was anything but #thatdude during the playoffs. And Anthony Davis remains ill-equipped to shoulder primary shot-creation responsibilities for himself and others.

There's no beating Paul's price tag to boot. He already has $15.8 million coming his way. The Lakers won't need to open up cap space, cobble together complicated sign-and-trades or even necessarily get rid of Russell to land him. L.A. cannot say the same for Kyrie Irving pipe dreams.

Picture a closing five of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jrue Holiday, Khris Middleton (player option), Brook Lopez (unrestricted) and Chris Paul.

Holy crap.

As good as the Milwaukee Bucks are at their absolute apex, their half-court offense could use another primary playmaker who doesn't shrink the floor. Paul checks the first box—and then some. His familiarity quarterbacking sloggy half-court sets would inject an unparalleled layer into Milwaukee's system.

Paul probably checks the second box (floor spacing), as well. It's just a more tenuous dynamic. His pull-up three-pointer dipped below 31 percent this past season, and while he knocked down 52.3 percent of his catch-and-fire opportunities, they accounted for just over 13 percent of his attempts.

Signing him would be worth any risk. Especially when you consider he'd have to join the Bucks at a cut rate. They are most likely going to run up against second-apron concerns if both Lopez and Middleton return, which would arm them with only the minimum to dangle.

Unless otherwise noted, stats courtesy of, Basketball Reference, Stathead or Cleaning the Glass. Salary information via Spotrac.

Dan Favale covers the NBA for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter (@danfavale), and subscribe to the Hardwood Knocks podcast, co-hosted by Bleacher Report's Grant Hughes.