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Chris Paul Is Taking A Gamble On Himself That Could Be Worth $100 Million

Chris Paul appears to be planning to decline his player option worth $44.2 million. And it might end up being a wise one.

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One of the best stories of the NBA playoffs is the Phoenix Suns. The club is captained by Chris Paul, one of the best point guards of his time, and is packed of promising young players like Devin Booker, DeAndre Ayton, and Mikal Bridges. The biggest criticism of Paul is that, despite being one victory away from leading this Suns club to the Western Conference Finals, he has never had postseason success.

Even while the playoffs continue, it appears Paul has made up his mind to forego his contract’s final year and exercise his player option. Paul “intends to decline” his $44.2 million option, according to Bleacher Report, and search for a deal. Over the course of three years, that agreement can be valued up to $100 million.

In essence, Paul is betting on himself. And it’ll probably pay off handsomely.

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After the 2018 campaign, Paul seemed to be finished. He appeared to have nothing left in the tank as he struggled mightily to get the Houston Rockets through the season. But his career was revived by a trade to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Paul led the Thunder to the playoffs in 2020 and nearly pulled off a playoff series victory over his former Rockets team.

The Suns acquired Paul just before the start of this season and he’s looked nearly flawless in leading the young roster to the brink of the Western Conference Finals. He has averaging 21.7 points per game, 34 assists, and just three turnovers in the first three games of this current series versus Denver.

He is performing at his best right now. Additionally, he will have many admirers if he decides against his options. Naturally, the Suns would want to keep Paul, especially if he helped them win a championship or the NBA Finals. But a team like the New York Knicks would be a fit, too — Paul’s former agent Leon Rose is now the Knicks’ team president.

Paul’s next contract might also take into account how long his postseason run lasts. Paul’s next contract might not be nearly as lucrative if the Suns reach the Western Conference Finals before losing their playoff series. Paul may have a deal worth more like $60 million over three years given his injury history (he’s presently recovering from a shoulder ailment) and age (he turned 36 last month).

Nevertheless, he is aware that this may be his final opportunity to land a significant contract. It’s not every day that declining $44.2 million is the right thing to do. It appears to be Paul’s wisest choice.