There’s now a decent chance that we’ll see a Chris Paul trade from the Phoenix Suns between now and Thursday’s NBA trade deadline.
As for the Phoenix Suns, they are expected to be extremely active ahead of the deadline after missing out on Irving. The struggling team has also been kicking the tires on finding a long-term replacement for Paul. Below, we look at three ideal trade scenarios ahead of Thursday’s NBA trade deadline.
Related: NBA trade deadline rumors
Minnesota Timberwolves swap point guards
- Timberwolves get: Chris Paul, Landry Shamet
- Suns get: D’Angelo Russell, Naz Reid, Wendell Moore Jr., 2 2nd-round picks
Having struggled to a 28-27 start to the season despite the off-season acquisition of Rudy Gobert, Minnesota is looking to change things up ahead of the NBA trade deadline. It’s in this that front office head Tim Connelly has starting point guard and impending free agent D’Angelo Russell on the trade block.
While Russell’s trade value can’t be seen as high right now, packaging him with other assets could land Minnesota a better fit. That’s where Paul comes into play. He can calm things down on offense while running the ship better than Russell. He’s also a much better ball distributor than Russell, which will help star off-guard Anthony Edwards moving forward.
From the Suns’ perspective, they get a stopgap option in Russell to right the ship as the season progresses. This deal also enables them more flexibility under the salary cap moving forward. Trading Paul for an expiring deal saves $30.8 million for next season. Add in the assets acquired in this trade — primarily Naz Reid — and Phoenix can make another move before the NBA trade deadline to upgrade its underperforming roster.
Miami Heat land Chris Paul
- Heat get: Chris Paul, Jae Crowder, Dario Saric
- Suns get: Kyle Lowry, Duncan Robinson, Nikola Jović, 1st-round pick, 2nd-round pick
Lowry, 36, is a shell of his former self. He’s shooting just 40% from the field and is averaging what would be a 10-year low 12.0 points per game. With that said, this would simply be a means to an end for Phoenix.
Lowry can act as a stopgap option while the Suns use the other assets acquired in this hypothetical deal to bring in a true superstar ahead of the deadline. Set to take over this week, new Suns owner Mat Ishbia has an edict to find another star to team up with Devin Booker. A first-round pick in 2022, Jovic could be used with the first-round pick acquired in this trade as well as other assets to land that star.
- Chris Paul stats (2022-23): 13.8 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 8.6 APG, 44% shooting, 39% 3-point
We know that Heat front office head Pat Riley has been attempting to pull off that blockbuster trade to get Jimmy Butler more help. We also know that he’s never afraid to give up future assets in a win-now move. Trading for Paul would be the latest example of this. And in reality, it would narrow the gap between Miami and other top-end title contenders back east.
Huge three-team Chris Paul trade
- Wizards get: Chris Paul, Jae Crowder
- Suns get: Fred VanVleet, Monte Morris, Taj Gibson, Thaddeus Young
- Raptors get: Dani Avdija, Corey Kispert, Will Barton, 3 1st-round picks
We understand full well that complicated three-team trades are typically reserved for the summer. But if Phoenix is going to move Paul, it will likely have to get that third team involved. This is especially true with the team being in on VanVleet.
- Fred VanVleet stats (2019-23): 19.9 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 6.5 APG, 1.7 SPG, 37% 3-point
Any move to acquire VanVleet – an impending free agent — would require some sense of assurance from the All-Star that he’d re-sign in Phoenix this summer. But being able to acquire him without yielding either Mikal Bridges or Cameron Johnson would be huge. He’s obviously an upgrade over the current iteration of Chris Paul.
From Toronto’s perspective, it adds two recent first-round picks at forward in Avdija and Kispert from Washington as the team looks to reset on the fly. Three future first-round selections from Phoenix helps, too.
Washington’s inclusion here is interesting in that it has been attempting to find a running partner for Bradley Beal on a never-ending loop over the past few seasons. Russell Westbrook and Spencer Dinwiddie never panned out. Tripling down on their efforts without giving up any draft pick compensation could make sense for the struggling Wizards.
This article was originally published on Sportsnaut.com and is republished here with permission.