Phoenix Suns contract decision could impact Philadelphia 76ers free agent target

Philadelphia 76ers, James Harden, Fred VanVleet (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Philadelphia 76ers, James Harden, Fred VanVleet (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /

The Phoenix Suns made headlines a couple of weeks ago when the news broke that they were planning to waive their perennial All-Star point guard Chris Paul. Paul has been a member of the Suns since 2020 and was key in the team’s playoff run to the 2021 NBA Finals. The decision being made by Mat Ishbia, the Suns’ new owner, and the front office could have ripple effects on the Philadelphia 76ers’ offseason free agency.

Paul has been linked to the Philadelphia 76ers before.

Entering the 2020-2021 NBA season, Paul was coming off one of his most complete seasons having played 70 games with the Oklahoma City Thunder and showing he still had good basketball left in him. As the Thunder was a team in rebuild mode and Paul was looking to contribute in a win-now situation, there was an agreement between the team and Paul that a trade would be pursued. The two teams that were seriously discussed at this time were: the Phoenix Suns and the Philadelphia 76ers.

The rest is history and Paul ended up on the Suns, but it is worth asking if the Philadelphia 76ers’ interest has waned in the three years since then. With James Harden’s uncertain future, it may be difficult to decide whether to pursue Paul, yet it is worth noting that Harden and Paul did play together in Houston and had relative success together.

Whether Harden decides to re-sign with the Philadelphia 76ers or not, it is worth the front office conversation of the possibility of adding Paul this offseason. The free-agent market this summer is notably weak and it is hard to imagine the 76ers going into next season with no real changes to the roster.

Paul could be a great addition to play alongside reigning MVP Joel Embiid as he is a pass-first point guard and would not complain about that role as much as Harden did. Naturally, at age 38, what he has left in the tank is a concern. Pair that with his annual injury around playoff time and signing Paul is not without risk. I think if Phoenix does waive Paul, his viability with the Philadelphia 76ers will all come down to his contract desires.