Suns All-Star point guard Chris Paul appears to be well positioned for his next NBA step, writes Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic. The 36-year-old six-footer has missed just two regular season games during a season in which he appears destined to make an All-NBA team, setting him up for an eventful offseason.
Paul faces a decision on a $44.2MM player option for 2021/22. Much like Gordon Hayward did a year ago, CP3 could opt out in search of a longer-term deal, likely with the Suns, at a slightly lower annual rate. Alternately, he could pick up his option for 2021/22 and reassess the open market ahead of his age-37 season in 2022.
There’s more out of the Pacific Division:
- After enjoying a breakout season in 2020/21, Kings center Richaun Holmes is looking for a significant pay raise this summer, writes James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area. Holmes is hoping to net an offer in the range of four years and $80MM. “We love Richaun,” team president Monte McNair said this week. “He had a career year. He’s an integral part of the team.” The club does have Early Bird rights for Holmes, meaning Sacramento can extend Holmes to the projected $11MM league average, with 8% increases each season. Holmes has probably outplayed that amount, though Ham is skeptical that he will command a $20MM annual salary on the open market.
- The Warriors appear well-primed for the coming seasons, writes Ethan Strauss of The Athletic. The team showed significant defensive promise despite a loss to the Lakers in its first play-in contest. The Warriors will fight to qualify for the No. 8 seed in the West tomorrow against the Grizzlies. Strauss wonders if, with the anticipated return of a healthy Klay Thompson and further growth from Jordan Poole, Golden State may prefer prioritizing role-playing offensive additions this summer as the team looks ahead to the 2021/22 season.
- The Lakers‘ play-in victory over the Warriors has revealed the defensive-oriented lineups that head coach Frank Vogel seems to trust heading into the playoffs, per Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register. Point guard Alex Caruso, wing Wesley Matthews and forward Kyle Kuzma all received significant prioritization from Vogel off the bench in the game’s second half, ahead of point guard Dennis Schröder (12 minutes), guard Talen Horton-Tucker, and forward Montrezl Harrell. Schröder, Caruso, Horton-Tucker and Harrell could all be free agents this summer. Goon notes that L.A.’s successful closing lineup that frustrated the Warriors comprised All-Star forwards LeBron James and Anthony Davis, plus Matthews, Caruso and 3-and-D wing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.