For the second-straight season, the Phoenix Suns saw their campaign come to a bitter end in the second round of the playoffs, as they fell to the Denver Nuggets in Thursday’s Game 6 by a final score of 125-100. Perhaps the biggest issue for the ball club in their series was lacking health, as they played without star point guard Chris Paul for all but two games in their semifinal matchup due to a groin injury sustained midway through Game 2. From there, he never made his way back to the hardwood.
Unfortunately for the sure-fire future Hall of Famer, injuries plagued him throughout 2022-23 as a whole, as he saw just 59 games of action.
When it comes to a win-now team like the Suns, dependability and, subsequently, durability is crucial in achieving ultimate glory, and, considering Chris Paul has missed 40 games over the last two regular seasons, there’s a growing fear that he may not be the right option to be running point for the club moving forward.
In a recent piece penned by Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer, Phoenix will likely be looking into moving on from their veteran ball handler this coming offseason, and league sources have informed the publication that they already have their sights set on two potential replacements.
“Paul only has $15.8 million of his $30.8 million salary guaranteed for next season, and there will be plenty of league-wide discussion surrounding Phoenix’s options for moving the future Hall of Fame point guard. The Suns already left rival teams with the impression they were searching for a long-term replacement for Paul before they pulled off that trade deadline blockbuster for Durant, league sources told Yahoo Sports, and have been linked by league personnel to ball-handlers from Fred VanVleet to Terry Rozier,” Fischer wrote.
Heavy Sports’ NBA insider Sean Deveney also strengthened the rumors linking both Rozier and VanVleet as being desired options for the Suns to pursue as Chris Paul replacements, though noted that acquiring the latter may prove to be rather challenging.
“The Hornets also garnered a mention, as the Suns have had interest in point guard Terry Rozier as a potential Paul successor. The Suns were rumored to have interest in guard Fred VanVleet, but that would require an Ayton trade and the Raptors seem to have settled on Jakob Poeltl as their center going forward,” Deveney wrote.
It’s been less than 24 hours since Phoenix was eliminated from the playoffs and already the trade rumor mill seems to be churning at a wildly rapid rate.
Buckle up Suns fans, the 2023 offseason could prove to be unbelievably busy.
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