Talks between the parties have gained traction but there is no deal imminent, according to the ESPN duo. A moratorium on trades remains in place until next week.
Phoenix’s interest in the 35-year-old point guard is somewhat surprising, considering it already has a veteran point guard in Ricky Rubio playing alongside franchise player Devin Booker. Rubio has two years and $34.8MM remaining on his contract.
Phoenix’s interest in Paul shows how badly it wants to end its long playoff drought. The Suns have gone 10 seasons without reaching the postseason.
Paul has a $41.4MM salary on the books for next season with a $44.2MM player option for the 2021/22 campaign. As ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets, Phoenix would have to cobble together at least $33.05MM in outgoing salary – if acting as an over-the-cap team – to make a trade happen. Rubio’s contract, plus Kelly Oubre‘s $14.4MM expiring contract, would put the Suns close to that figure.
In terms of 2020 draft capital, the Suns own the No. 10 overall selection while the Thunder sit at No. 25.
The Thunder front office has given star players input on possible trade destinations in the past and presumably are extending Paul the same courtesy. Paul played the 2010/11 season under Suns coach Monty Williams in New Orleans.
Depending on the structure of a trade, the Suns could still have significant cap space — somewhere in the $20MM range — to pursue free agents.