It is no secret that Chris Paul has changed the trajectory of the Phoenix Suns organization overnight. Even with the team’s incredible 8-0 stretch in the NBA Bubble; they still finished the shortened season 5 games under .500 and 10th in the Western Conference. The team lacked a winning pedigree, and that’s what CP3, one of the most storied point guards in the history of the association, was able to bring.
The Phoenix experience has gone well so far for Paul and the organization, with the team currently vying for the first seed in the West and Paul generating MVP buzz for his immediate impact with the franchise. However, if the season were to come to a bitter end, could Paul be looking to end his illustrious career elsewhere?
Paul is in line to make over $44M next season but has a player option that could make him an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year. Although he would be 36 when he enters the market, his recent work with the Thunder and Suns could be intriguing to a younger team trying to take another step forward. One such team would be the Sun’s challengers this evening: the New York Knicks.
Like Phoenix, New York has been one of the biggest surprises in the league this season. Julius Randle has blossomed into an All-NBA caliber player, and R.J Barrett is turning himself into a reliable scoring option. Coach Tom Thibodeau also transformed the entire team’s culture, a catalyst in the Knicks sporting the best defense in the league. Even with how well they’ve done this season, there is still something lacking.
It’d be hard to find anyone outside of the Big Apple that would give the Knicks a chance to advance beyond the second round of the playoffs. The team needs a player who can take them to the next level but won’t ruin the team’s newfound identity. Enter the “point god”: Chris Paul.
It’s no secret the Knicks threw their hat in the CP3 sweepstakes last season. Paul reportedly had mixed feelings about the Knicks and playing in New York during a pandemic. A lot has changed since then: the Knicks have changed their team image dramatically, and the pandemic is seemingly finally coming to an end.
An interesting note is that the president of the New York Knicks is Leon Rose, the same man who was Paul’s agent for over a decade. Practicality and personal connections make this scenario a real possibility. At worst, Paul can use the Knicks as leverage to garner more money from the Suns in a contract extension.
Suns fans shouldn’t panic yet, as their team is a genuine title contender in this unique NBA season. However, if the team fails to make an imprint in the playoffs, their title window could disappear just as fast as it came into fruition.