But there was never really any expectation around the NBA he would leave Phoenix after leading the Suns to the NBA Finals. He didn’t, inking a new $75 million (at least, could be worth $120 million) contract with the Suns. Paul told Jeff Zillgitt of the USA Today it was an easy decision.
“It was an easy decision,” Paul said. “Not only did I love the basketball aspect, I’m close to family (in Los Angeles) and Phoenix is a family, too. I’m excited to be back there…
“The thing I’m looking forward to now is our approach to the every day,” he said. “You don’t start the season and get to automatically end up at the Finals again. It’s another building process, and I’m excited about going through this experience with these guys because I went as far (in the playoffs) as I’ve ever been. We’ll be on this journey of something new together.”
The Suns return as the defending Western Conference champions, but they will need to build something even better to return to the Finals this year because the landscape of the West has gotten more challenging.
The Lakers retooled their roster adding Russell Westbrook, but the bottom line remains if LeBron James and Anthony Davis are healthy come the playoffs their ceiling is higher than anyone else in the conference. Utah returns the roster that had the best regular season in the West with hopes Mike Conley and Donovan Mitchell are healthy for the postseason this time. If Jamal Murray returns and is near himself, Denver is a real threat with Nikola Jokic. Same with Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers (although his return feels like a long shot). Then there are the Warriors with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green. There’s the Mavericks with Luka Doncic.
Chris Paul and the Suns have work to do, but they have a real chance with him back. And returning was an easy decision for him.