Former Phoenix Suns point guard Chris Paul is on the move again. After being a part of a Father’s Day trade to the Washington Wizards, he has been dealt to the Suns’ Pacific Division rival, the Golden State Warriors.
Washington and Phoenix have finalized the Bradley Beal trade, landing the Wizards six second-round draft picks and four first-round pick swaps, sources tell ESPN. Suns are sending seconds in 2024, 2025, 2026, 2027, 2028 and 2030. Pick swaps in 2024, 2026, 2028 and 2030.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 22, 2023
This is an astute move by the Warriors, who sent Jordan Poole to Washington, along with his 4 year, $128M contract. It wasn’t the smartest move last offseason by Golden State to drop that kind of money on Poole, but they hoped they would see a quality return on their investment. Instead, they received a decrease in efficiency and a player who Draymond Green deemed punch worthy.
Do not be surprised if Poole averages 30 points-per-game next season with Washington. He’s going to get the shot attempts and will be relied upon to do so as the team is amidst a massive rebuild.
What is unique about this transaction as it relates to the Suns is it opens the door for the possibility of Chris Paul potentially returning to the Valley.
The way it works is simple: if a team that trades a player, and then that player is waived, they cannot return to the team that traded him. The “reacquisition rule” prevents teams from doing this. This rule is intended to prohibit teams from bypassing salary cap laws by trading a player to another team and then signing him to a new deal right away.
There is a loophole, however, and that is if that player is traded again then waived. In July 2016 the Warriors traded Andrew Bogut to the Mavericks, and in February 2017 the Mavericks traded Bogut to the Sixers, who waived him. Because of the two trades, Bogut could have resigned with the Warriors.
If the Golden State Warriors did this move simply in an effort to salary dump Jordan Poole’s contract, and if they choose to waive Chris Paul, he could return to the Suns. Per Chris Haynes, who clearly has an open text message thread with the Point God, it appears that Golden State is likely to hold on to CP3, however.
If it were to happen, if Chris Paul was waived by the Suns, would Phoenix want him back? It is an interesting wrinkle in a file labeled “unlikely to happen”. If given the opportunity, it is doubtful that the Suns would not bring Paul back, even on a veteran minimum. He burned a couple of bridges on the way out of town.
Remember when the news first broke that the Suns were going to waive Chris Paul? We rushed to our phones and tried to make sense of it all? Why would Phoenix just waive him? Aren’t there better options? Doesn’t releasing this information kill all of the leverage the team has if they were to explore trade possibilities?
This news was released by Chris Haynes, and was soon corrected by Shams Charania and Adrian Wojnarowski.
Reporting for NBA Countdown on the Suns beginning conversations with Chris Paul on his future with franchise pic.twitter.com/2DoOaRX3fV— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 8, 2023
Assumedly, Chris Paul provided Haynes with half of the information. Why would he do this? If he knew Phoenix was willing to move on from him, this play would decrease the Suns’ ability to do so while increasing his odds of choosing where he goes next.
By having the league believe that the Suns are going to simply waive him, it decreases his overall value on the market. Why would you trade for somebody who you know that the team is going to waive? You can just wait until they waive him and then bring them onto your team.
Thankfully for the Suns, Bradley Beal was adamant about playing in Phoenix and, due to his no-trade clause, could dictate where he went. The Suns maximized the value of the aging Point God and turned him into a three-time All-Star who is 8 years younger.
Poor form by Chris by leaking the information.
Then there was the Good Morning America interview in which Chris Paul insinuated that the Suns were callous in the way that they handled his trade by not being the ones who informed him initially on the move.
How did Chris Paul find out he could be heading to Washington?— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) June 19, 2023
On a plane heading to New York for his Good Morning America appearance.
“I was surprised too … in this league anything can happen.”
“Surprised”? C’mon Chris. You knew the Suns were planning on not paying you $30.8M next season to be on the team.
Let me break down how this works. The Suns used to be an organization that was very tight knit relative to information, and it was hard to get any pulse on what they were doing and how they were doing it from a front office standpoint. Since Ishbia has taken over, we’ve seen more leaks. In the day and age of information, having that knowledge first is like printing money.
In the case of Chris Paul, as the Suns were dotting their i’s and crossing their t’s on the deal, the information leaked that he would be traded to Washington for Bradley Beal. Chris Paul’s son saw the tweets and informed his father via text when the information was released, as CP3 was on a flight to New York to promote his new book, Sixty-One.
It’s not like CP3 doesn’t know how being traded works. He has been traded four times prior to this offseason.
When asked about how he found out, Paul was transparent by informing the GMA crew, “I found out on the plane yesterday flying here”. But he did not tell the entire story, how leaks occur, and the Suns wouldn’t normally reach out to him until everything was finalized.
Again, poor form.
These two actions on the way out the door most certainly negate any possibility of return for the point guard. Granted, it doesn’t appear that the Warriors are going to waive him, but if they did Phoenix would not be his home once again.
It’s an unfortunate end to the Chris Paul chapter. The information game can be tricky.
Who and what Chris Paul means to the Suns’ franchise is unquantifiable. He provided unparalleled leadership when the team needed it most. The impact he had on Devin Booker’s career is something we will continue to enjoy for as long as Booker calls the Valley home.
But that is how the story ends.