Chris Paul, Deandre Ayton, Cam Johnson, Josh Hart, Knicks

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Chris Paul

The Phoenix Suns have been linked to Fred VanVleet, D’Angelo Russelland, previously, Kyrie Irving on the trade market this season.

Following Phoenix’s win at Barclays Center, Suns guard Chris Paul was asked by HoopsHype during his postgame media availability how he dealt with reported trade rumors for Irving. “Control what you can control,” Paul replied. “We’re next. A team is always going to do whats in their best interest, as they should. Players have to have that same mindset. People talk crazy about players when they do it.”

With Paul approaching 38 in May, he was also asked by another reporter how long he plans to continue playing.

“I never woke up and was like, ‘This is my last year. I’ve got one or two left.’” Paul said. “More than anything, I miss my family. My wife and kids have been in LA the last four years. That’s the only thing that’ll affect my decision.”

Paul’s $30.8 million salary is guaranteed for $15.8 million next season, and his $30.8 million salary for the 2024-25 season is non-guaranteed, per our HoopsHype Suns salaries page.

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Deandre Ayton

Ayton has been on a tear his last eight games, averaging 23.5 points and 13.1 rebounds. According to the former No. 1 pick, his improved health and motivation from critics has fueled his recent play.

“I see what people say about me,” Ayton said. “I had a bad start to the season. If it wasn’t ankle injuries, it was some other sickness or some bull crap that got in my way. This is more like an adversity type of season for me to show them what type of player I truly am, and me sticking with it and blocking out all the noise and haters, and getting back to the thing I do best, being dominant.”

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Cam Johnson

Suns teammates Deandre Ayton and Cam Johnson expressed a desire for Paul to remain with the Suns past the trade deadline and continue the core’s path to compete for a championship.

“We love our current group,” Johnson said. “A lot of guys have been playing together for a while now, and that continuity is something that’s not easily overlooked. You build up chemistry playing with all these guys like (Deandre) Ayton, (Devin) Booker, (Mikal) Bridges, and myself. We’ve been playing for four years and with CP for three. We hear stuff, and rumors are flying all around. I’ve heard rumor after rumor for four years now, and the reality is most of them don’t come to fruition. If they do, and when they do, you’ve got to proceed. We, as a team, are focused on what we’re doing, and we’re excited. We have a great opportunity. We’ve done some pretty positive things in the last couple of years. We still feel like there’s so much more on the table to get.”

When asked by Hoops Hype about his long-term future, Johnson hinted at wanting to return to Phoenix with restricted free agency looming this summer.

“I love being in Phoenix,” Johnson replied. “I love the team, the staff, and the city. The organization has treated me really well to this point. Whatever the future holds, the future holds. Phoenix has really become a home to me. These guys have become my brothers, which from my understanding, is not something you should take for granted in professional sports. Being with a group of guys that aren’t just your co-workers. I said earlier in my career that it almost felt like college the first couple of years in the league, with people like Mikal, Ayton, and Devin, where we’ve been able to spend so much time and grow together on and off the court .”

Johnson is one of the top free agents on the market this summer, according to our HoopsHype free agent rankings. After failing to agree to a contract extension before the season, Johnson will enter the market as a restricted free agent upon receiving his qualifying offer.


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