Indeed during the opening stages of the NBA finals clash with the Milwaukee Bucks the North Carolinian regularly received public support from opposing players keen to see the 36-year-old finally pick up an NBA ring, one that would have been richly deserved.
Paul’s decision, following the completion of his 16th season in the NBA, will undoubtedly impact Phoenix’s odds of winning a title. Odd comparison platforms such as Sidelines are currently giving the Suns (+1500) to win their first title, though clearly those odds would lengthen if Chris Paul decided to move on.
Chris Paul must now decide what to do with his $44.2m player option and it’s a decision that may well be impacted by the heartache experienced against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Leading 2-0 only to be beaten by game six is the type of defeat that will take a long time to overcome and we’re not talking about a player who is new to the NBA, and that might mean the scars from this loss may be deeper than if this occurred to a rookie.
The costs associated with signing Paul, and his age, will more than likely mean a lack of prospective suitors for the Phoenix star, so what now?
Following their game six loss Paul was asked about his plans for the forthcoming season and beyond;
“I ain’t retiring, if that’s what you’re asking. That’s out. So, back to work.” Paul responded.
Clearly a period of reflection is inevitable, especially given that the Suns were within touching distance of a first ever NBA title.
“Right now, you’re just trying to figure out what you could have done more,” Paul said. “It’s tough. Great group of guys, hell of a season, but this one is going to hurt for a while.”
Amazingly Paul now becomes the first player to lose four playoff matches from a 2-0 lead, but perhaps it’s stats like this that mask a truly outstanding career up to this point.
This was Paul’s first season in Phoenix having been traded in from Oklahoma City Thunder having previously enjoyed strong spells at the Hornets, Clippers and the Rockets.
There’s still a sense of unfinished business when it comes to Chris Paul and it would be foolish to right off his chances of finally picking up an NBA title but perhaps that target would be more easily realized elsewhere.
A move to the L.A Lakers was hinted at by a certain Magic Johnson, who tweeted:
“A big three with LeBron, Chris, and AD will equal a NBA championship!”
That’s a move that may be out of the Lakers price range this offseason, but it’s a dream team that many NBA neutrals would love to see and stranger things have happened in the world of basketball, so who knows…