Chris Paul’s response to being exchanged for Bradley Beal in a rumored Suns-Wizards deal: “I was surprised, too.”
The NBA world was rocked on Sunday by news of a blockbuster transaction involving Chris Paul and Bradley Beal. Since trades in the NBA are so frequent, it’s simple to forget that the players involved are frequently just as shocked as everyone else.
Paul was scheduled to go on “Good Morning America” less than a day after his name first surfaced in trade publications to discuss the publication of his upcoming book, but it was hard to avoid addressing the topic at hand almost away.
“I was surprised too,” Paul said to GMA’s Michael Strahan, who shared his surprise upon learning of the blockbuster trade.
“I found out on the plane yesterday flying here for this,” Paul continued. “In this league, anything can happen, so you just figure out what’s next.”
After his interview on Good Morning America, Paul had a more in-depth conversation with Sopan Deb of the New York Times. In the interview, Paul reveals that he found out about the trade from his 14-year-old son.
“But when [the news] comes through and my son texts me, I realize tha, you know, Mat and Isiah, I guess, just wanted to go in a different direction,” Paul stated the following comments about Suns owner Mat Ishbia and Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas, who does not hold an official position with the team.
Paul continued by saying that when he met with Suns president and general manager James Jones on Saturday, Jones made no mention of a move of this size being considered.
The deal serves as a reminder that anything is possible in the NBA.
Days before the reported deal, initial reports suggested that the Suns were contemplating the possibility of releasing Paul in order to gain financial freedom to assemble a team around Devin Booker, Kevin Durant, and Deandre Ayton.
Things changed when it became clear that Beal was looking to leave Washington, opening the door for the deal that will bring Paul from Phoenix to the capital, as was first planned.
Figuring out what’s next, however, is another story.
In order to enable the deal, Paul’s guaranteed salary for the upcoming season would rise from $15.8 million to $25 million, according to Bobby Marks of ESPN.
From there, the Wizards may either reach an arrangement with Paul that would make him a free agency this offseason or involve another club. In the wake of the trade, Paul has already been linked to the Clippers, while the Lakers are also looked at as a potential destination.
Paul, 38, played in 59 games for the Suns last season, averaging 13.9 points, 8.9 assists, and 4.3 rebounds. A hamstring injury held him out of the Suns final three games of the NBA Playoffs.
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