With Devin Booker and DeAndre Ayton as their franchise cornerstones, the Phoenix Suns are undeniably one of the most promising teams in the league right now. However, in order to make an impact in the deep Western Conference, the Suns obviously need to surround Booker and Ayton with more star power. When the 2019-20 NBA season is over, the Suns should highly prioritize targeting a veteran superstar who could complement the games of Booker and Ayton.
One of the potential trade targets for the Suns in the 2020 NBA offseason is Chris Paul of the Oklahoma City Thunder. According to Dan Favale of Bleacher Report, successfully acquiring Paul from the Thunder would enable the Suns to create a “legitimate Big Three” with Booker and Ayton.
“Ayton and Devin Booker qualify as a star duo, either currently or inevitably. And adding Chris Paul would constitute a legitimate Big Three base for the Phoenix Suns. Looking at the rest of Paul’s contract might make you queasy. He has two years and $85.6 million left on his deal. That’s a ton of money for an undersized point guard about to turn 35. But Paul has thus far defied the traditional aging curve. He’s a shoo-in for second- or third-team All-NBA honors this year, and his livelihood has never been the least bit tethered to otherworldly athleticism.”
Despite his age and lucrative contract, trading for Paul still makes sense for the Suns. The potential arrival of Paul in Phoenix won’t turn the Suns into an instant title contender, but he could at least help Booker and Ayton end the team’s years of playoff drought. Being a known culture setter, Paul could greatly help the development of the Suns’ young core. He could teach Booker and Ayton a thing or two on how to successfully turn themselves into legitimate superstars in the league.
Last offseason, the only thing that the Thunder wanted in the deal involving Paul was salary cap relief. However, with his performance in the 2019-20 season, the Thunder are now expecting to get something valuable in return for the veteran point guard. If they are interested in forming a “Big Three” of Paul, Booker, and Ayton this summer, the Suns should be willing to give up a young player or a future draft pick to the Thunder.
In the proposed trade deal by Bleacher Report, the Suns would be sending a trade package including Cheick Diallo, Kelly Oubre Jr., and Ricky Rubio to the Thunder in exchange for Paul. Though it would diminish their chances of competing for a playoff spot in the Western Conference, the potential deal would be beneficial for the Thunder, especially if they finally decide to rebuild the team around Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Oubre Jr. and Diallo could both be part of the Thunder’s long-term plans, while Rubio could serve as Paul’s temporary replacement while they are looking for their point guard of the future.