Chris Paul negotiates new deal in Phoenix that could run until the point guard is 40 years old and see him break career earnings record; Suns also add backup center Javale McGee
Tuesday 3 August 2021 07:55, UK
Point guard Chris Paul is staying in Phoenix after agreeing to a four-year deal worth up to $120m on the opening day of NBA free agency Monday night.
Paul led the Suns to the NBA Finals last season and underwent wrist surgery, but should be ready for the start of the 2021-22 NBA season, ESPN reported.
The 11-time All-Star opted out of his contract by declining a $44.2m player option for next season, becoming an unrestricted free agent. The 36-year-old led the team to the NBA Finals for the first time since 1993 in his first season in Phoenix.
Contract agreements with free agents cannot become official until August 6, the start of the new league year.
Paul played through hand, wrist and shoulder injuries in the 2021 playoffs but was still able to guide the Suns through the Western Conference, before they ultimately fell to the Milwaukee Bucks in six games in the Finals.
In his 16th NBA season, Paul averaged 16.4 points, 8.9 assists and 4.5 rebounds per game with the Suns. In 20 playoff games, he averaged 19.2 points, 8.6 assists and 3.5 rebounds.
His new contract lasts until he turns 40 and could see the point guard surpass $446m in earnings during his NBA career. For comparison, the current all-time leader is LeBron James, who has earned just over £346m to date.
Paul's backup Cameron Payne, who shone off the bench for the Suns during the playoffs, also agreed to terms on a new deal for $19m over four years, according to Yahoo Sports.
Phoenix also added free agent center JaVale McGee on a one-year deal, per multiple reports.
McGee, a three-time champion with the Golden State Warriors (2017, 2018) and Los Angeles Lakers in 2020, will provide valuable depth at the five position, where the Suns often struggled during the post-season beyond their starter Deandre Ayton.
Elsewhere in the veteran point guard market, Kyle Lowry was dealt from the Toronto Raptors to the Miami Heat in a sign-and-trade deal, while the Utah Jazz moved quickly to bring back Mike Conley, agreeing on a three-year, $72.5m contract according to multiple outlets.
Conley, 33, produced 16.2 points and six assists per game last season with Utah, shooting 41.2 per cent from 3-point range and making his first All-Star Game appearance.
Utah finished with the best record in the NBA, but after Conley was hurt in the first round of the playoffs, the Jazz fell to the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round. Conley appeared in only the final game of the six-game series, going 1 of 8 from the field in 26 minutes.
Conley played 12 of his 14 seasons with the Memphis Grizzlies and has averaged 14.9 points and 5.7 assists on 886 career games. He was the No. 4 overall selection in the 2007 NBA Draft by the Grizzlies out of Ohio State.
The Jazz traded center Derrick Favors but face luxury tax penalty as contract extensions for Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert begin. More moves could soon follow the Conley agreement, with the team reportedly open to trading forwards Bojan Bogdanovic and Joe Ingles.