The Bucks considered a trade for Chris Paul last offseason before deciding to make a run at Jrue Holiday, Marc Stein writes in his latest Substack column. Milwaukee wanted to add a veteran guard who could fill a leadership role after a disappointing playoff loss to the Heat, and Paul was an obvious name to consider.
The Bucks opted for a younger alternative in Holiday, who has helped them reach the NBA Finals for the first time in 50 years. Stein believes the addition of Holiday helped convince Giannis Antetokounmpo to commit to the franchise with a five-year, $228MM contract extension.
Holiday finds himself matched up in the Finals against Paul, whom the Thunder promised to trade to a contender last fall as they began rebuilding. Paul wanted to be closer to his son in Los Angeles, so the Bucks would have been at a disadvantage if he’d been their preferred choice.
Stein offers more news from around the league:
- There were rumors that Paul might be interested in opting out of his $44.2MM salary for next season and leaving Phoenix this summer, but that seems less likely after the Finals run. No matter what he decides on the option, Stein expects Paul to be back with the Suns next season, noting that he fits perfectly alongside Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton and coach Monty Williams. Booker said recently that the team’s 8-0 record after the restart motivated management to pursue Paul.
- Clippers star Kawhi Leonard has a $36MM option decision to make, and the ACL surgery he had this week will likely influence his thinking. League sources expect him to remain in L.A., according to Stein, but several teams will be interested if he hits the open market. Stein states that the Mavericks are willing to sign Leonard even if the ACL prevents him from playing next season.
- New Mavericks general manager Nico Harrison said he has received offers from other teams in the past, but he chose to remain with Nike until the opportunity with Dallas arose. League sources tell Stein that the Spurs and Lakers are among the franchises that have shown interest in Harrison.