The Phoenix Suns are reportedly assessing their future without Chris Paul and eventual replacements for the veteran superstar point guard at the trade deadline, according to NBA insider Marc Stein.
It comes amid an up and down season from Paul, who’s been restricted to 27 of a possible 48 games due to injury in an indifferent campaign for the 24-24 Suns including a huge drop off in recent times.
Furthermore, Paul has averaged career-lows in scoring (13.4 points per game) and shooting (42 per cent from the field and 80.9 per cent from the free throw line), and is set to turn 38 by the playoffs.
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And with the team only clinging onto a play-in spot right now, it makes sense for the for the franchise to be scanning the market for contingency plans despite Paul being contracted for two more seasons.
Stein reports Phoenix views Charlotte’s Terry Rozier, New York’s Immanuel Quickley and Toronto’s Fred VanVleet as potential targets.
The Suns have been one of the teams most linked to trade rumours as they look to make up ground in the Western Conference standings.
It includes them searching for a trade partner for Jae Crowder ahead of the deadline, while Phoenix was also pursuing Rui Hachimura prior to his trade to the LA Lakers.
According to Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer, a three-team trade that would’ve sent Hachimura to the Suns, Crowder to the Milwaukee Bucks and three second-round picks plus salary to the Washington Wizards was originally in play.
It’s believed the deal helped set the price for the Lakers’ acquisition of Hachimura.
Injuries have played a key role in the Suns’ drop off this season after occupying the West’s first seed earlier in the campaign.
But the Suns will now turn their attention elsewhere as they also look to build off their three-game winning streak and make a run in the second half of the season, with Paul and Cam Johnson back from injury and Devin Booker still to return.
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RIVAL’S HUGE OFFER FOR OG
There’s also a big watch on the Toronto Raptors ahead of the deadline as they weigh up major moves amid a disappointing 21-27 campaign.
OG Anunoby is one player highly coveted around the league, with at least one team offering the Raptors three first-round picks for the gun wing, per Toronto Star’s Bruce Athur.
It comes after reports last year from ESPN’s Zach Lowe that the “entire league” wants Anunoby and that his trade value could be similar to what the Cleveland Cavaliers gave up for Donovan Mitchell – a package featuring Lauri Markkanen, Collin Sexton, three unprotected first rounders and two pick swaps.
Anunoby is contracted for one more season on a modest $19 million deal, while he could become a free agent in 2024.
Fred VanVleet is another Raptor that’s been constantly linked to trade rumours, however other reports state Gary Trent Jr. is the only player the team would seriously consider trading.