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Report: Chris Paul declines player option to become unrestricted free agent

Paul is expected to return to the Suns on a long-term deal.

2021 NBA Finals - Phoenix Suns v Milwaukee Bucks

Chris Paul has declined his $44.2 million player option to become an unrestricted free agent, according to Shams Charania. Paul is expected to return to the Phoenix Suns, who reached the NBA Finals for the first time since 1992-93 last season, on a long-term deal at less money per season.

After bouncing around the league over the last three seasons, Paul was acquired by the Suns in what was considered a risky move. The point guard immediately raised the team’s play, helping the Suns become a 51-win squad. With some good fortune and strong play from youngsters Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton, the Suns eventually made the Finals.

Paul averaged 16.4 points and 8.9 assists per game last season with the Suns. Even at his advanced age, he remains one of the top point guards in the game and his leadership skills are praised by teammates and coaches constantly. This move will also give the Suns some cap room as they attempt to reach extensions with Ayton and Mikal Bridges.