As president of the National Basketball Players Association, Chris Paul helped push the rarely-discussed “over 36 rule” to become the “over 38 rule” in the new CBA — in essence, it means a team without Bird rights cannot offer a four-year contract to players who will turn 38 during that contract. (The reason is to prevent owners from cheating the system and paying a veteran extra money by having a contract that keeps the checks coming after he retires.) CP3 benefited from that rule change when he signed a four-year max extension in 2018 that would have taken him past his 36th birthday.
Now it is a rule that likely keeps Paul with the Suns and makes it less likely the Knicks — who have interest in Paul — or other teams can lure him away.
Paul is expected to decline his $44.2 million player option for next season to secure more guaranteed money and years. Marc Berman of the New York Post channels ESPN’s Bobby Marks’ explanation of why it’s hard for the Knicks to swoop in (aside from the fact Paul has made the Finals with the Suns).
According to former Nets executive and ESPN cap guru Bobby Marks, the Suns can offer Paul a four-year deal while the Knicks can’t go past three years because of an obscure “over-38’’ bylaw in the collective bargaining agreement.
Marks predicts the Suns will net Paul with a three-year, $100 million contract if the veteran decides to opt out of the $44 million final season of his current deal.
If Leon Rose’s Knicks attempt to match the offer, the Suns can add a fourth year.
And would. Suns’ owner Robert Sarver is not about to break up a team that just reached the franchise’s first Finals since 1993.
If he declines his option, Paul is a free agent and could choose to play anywhere, but does anyone think he wants to right now? He chose and pushed for Phoenix when Oklahoma City wanted to trade him, and now he has reached the Finals with a young and still improving squad. Paul is staying, the only questions are years and money, and that is not going to be hard to work out at this point.