Chris Paul is thinking green.
The Suns point guard “intends to decline” his $44.2 million player option for 2021-22 to chase a bigger pay day and a multi-year deal as a free agent this summer, according to Bleacher Report.
Paul, sources told the site, is hoping to land a deal within the $100 million range over three seasons.
Despite being the nucleus of a Phoenix turnaround amid the team’s current playoff success — the Suns lead the second-round series 2-0 against the Clippers — Paul’s age could hinder his contract hopes.
He turned 36 in May, which is a possible red flag for a longterm deal, as is his injury history, especially in the postseason. Paul is currently dealing with a nagging shoulder injury in the conference semifinals, which he is paying through.
Nonetheless, Paul will be coming off an All-Star season and a fifth-place finish in MVP voting this season.
Some league executives have projected his future deal to fall in the three-year, $60 million area, according to Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix.
Suns stars Devin Booker, Torrey Craig, and Jae Crowder, along with rising stars in Deandre Ayton and Mikal Bridges, have all benefitted from Paul’s leadership and veteran presence.
The 11-time NBA All-Star’s veteran presence and mentorship has created a much-needed culture shift in Phoenix. How far he is able to lead the Suns could impact his decision. A $100 million contract could be more feasible if Paul is coming off an NBA championship or even a Finals run.