The New York Knicks could have a chance to scoop up Chris Paul this offseason following a report that the All-Star plans to opt-out.
Chris Paul has one more year left on his current deal, but don’t bank on him staying in Phoenix for the foreseeable future. Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus reports that Paul is planning on declining his player option for next season in hopes of signing a longer deal:
“Paul has a $44.4 million player option, which according to several sources, he intends to decline with hopes of inking a new multiyear deal (perhaps in the $100 million range over three seasons). It’s unclear if his recent shoulder injury changes his plans.”
Of course, it would be difficult to see the Suns letting him walk after how much he has transformed their team, but anything can happen in the NBA. Pincus notes that Gordon Hayward had a similar dilemma last offseason. Hayward ultimately chose to turn down the final year on his player option with the Celtics to sign a four-year, $120 million deal with the Hornets.
Following a dominant season in Phoenix, there are going to be a few suitors for Paul. The New York Knicks should be at the front of the line.
Chris Paul to the Knicks?
This is a question that Knicks fans asked themselves after the bubble. It became clear that the Oklahoma City Thunder were going to move on from Paul and start a full-scale rebuild. The Suns came in and scooped Paul up, leading to their first playoff berth in over a decade.
Not only did they make the playoffs, but they are one game away from sending LeBron James and the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers home. Phoenix could not have asked for a better year from Paul.
His ability to absolutely transform a roster was on full display in Oklahoma City and Phoenix. Wherever he goes, Paul makes everyone around him better. RJ Barrett, Immanuel Quickley, and Obi Toppin would be able to learn from one of the best point guards in the history of the NBA. Could he do that same thing in New York?
After all, Paul to the Knicks is a natural fit in many ways. The Knicks have been searching for a legitimate starting point guard for the better part of two decades. Not to mention, Paul’s former agent, Leon Rose, is running the show in New York as Knicks president.
How far could the Knicks have gone this year with Paul as the starting point guard instead of Elfrid Payton? Obviously, there are questions about Paul’s age and health. A three-year deal for Paul would be a risk, no doubt.
However, Paul can fix the issues that held this team back once the playoffs arrived. Julius Randle was not cut out to be the lead dog on a playoff team yet. He was atrocious against the Atlanta Hawks and it’s clear that the moment was far too big for him. Having an experienced vet who has been through tons of playoff battles would take a lot of that pressure off of Randle.
The Knicks are in need of a lead dog and there aren’t a ton of options in free agency this year. Unless Kawhi Leonard opts out and tests the market, Paul is going to be the best player available.
The Knicks could go from a pesky playoff team to a bonafide championship contender with Paul. Keep an eye on this possibility as free agency approaches.