Yahoo Sports senior NBA reporter Jake Fischer and senior NBA writer Dan Devine discuss what's next for the 12-time All-Star following reports that Phoenix will part ways with the point guard in the coming weeks. Hear the full conversation on "No Cap Room" - part of the "Ball Don't Lie" podcast - and subscribe on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you listen.
JAKE FISCHER: The options for what Phoenix can do with Chris Paul are straightforward. They can either waive him, being that he has only $15.8 of his $30-plus million guaranteed for next season. They can try to trade him. And that's really it because no one, I think, in Phoenix was prepared to pay Chris Paul $30 million next season after the year that he had. If they get the nontaxpayer mid-level available with stretch commitments about, you know, $12 million-- or waiving him, excuse me. Who can you really get out there at that salary figure that's going to really raise the ceiling that much higher for Phoenix?
DAN DEVINE: Yeah, I mean, the top of the free agent point guard market is Kyrie Irving and Fred VanVleet, and they're going to come in well above that number. D'Angelo Russell probably also going to come in well above that number. And then you're talking about Gabe Vincent in line for a nice raise off of what he's making in Miami, but is Gabe Vincent changing your life if he's coming in as your starting point guard for the Phoenix Suns? Probably not.
To me, that pathway for Phoenix makes sense. The thing I wonder, though, is as we get to X-- I believe his guarantee date is June 28. So we're about--
JAKE FISCHER: June 28.
DAN DEVINE: --a little under-- a little under three weeks away or about.
JAKE FISCHER: The day before free agency starts.
DAN DEVINE: Yeah.
JAKE FISCHER: So clearly there needs to be some quick movement here, at least on the decision to waive him or not, because the clock is ticking, and Chris Paul's got to know whether he's going to be a free agent or not. And that would be a massive domino that a lot of teams will want to know about.
DAN DEVINE: Paul operates or occupies a really interesting place right now because I think many people, reasonable people, would look at it and say, how could you possibly reup him on a longer run and believe-- and feel confident that he's not going to get hurt again, that he's going to be available again, that he's not going to have-- his regular-season performance has downturned for the last several years, and then he's also hurt and not available in the playoffs. And so at what point does having him around not become, you know, beneficial for your long-term goals of trying to win a championship?
But he's also too good to just say we'll get somebody else in to do the same thing for less money. Like, it's not-- he's in that middle kind of ground where he's not an all-star anymore, but he's too good to just say forget it. We'll find somebody else to fill it to, you know, 85% of the production for half the money. And so that's why moving on from him becomes so tricky, before you even get into the personal politics of all of it and, you know, how you treat these superstar players on their way out.