They lack the draft capital to move off Paul’s salary, Fischer notes, and trade rules make it tricky to find a workable deal between two parties, as Paul’s outgoing salary for matching purposes is only $15.8MM, but his incoming salary for his new team would be the full $30.8MM.
That has led the Suns to explore three-team scenarios for Paul, Fischer reports, with the goal of finding a team with cap room to take on the veteran guard’s salary. Rival teams think the Spurs might be an option in that scenario, though it’s unclear whether they’d have any interest in Paul, and it seems unlikely he’d want to stick with a rebuilding club.
Despite already having Zach Collins and the No. 1 overall pick in next week’s draft, which they will use on 7’5″ French phenom Victor Wembanyama, the Spurs appear to be in the market for a starting-caliber center, per Fischer, with the goal of reducing the Wembanyama’s workload as a thin incoming rookie.
As for players the Suns are targeting in the three-team talks, sources tell Fischer that Phoenix continues to be intrigued by Hawks forward John Collins, and he adds a new name as well: Celtics guard Malcolm Brogdon, the reigning Sixth Man of the Year.
Brogdon, who has a $22.5MM cap hit in each of the next two seasons, could be on the move due to Boston’s financial situation and roster makeup, with a glut of guards that includes Marcus Smart, Payton Pritchard and Derrick White. Fischer confirms the Celtics are looking for help at other positions, and rival teams think White is the least likely of that group to be dealt.