However, the Nuggets’ six-game triumph over the Suns in the Western Conference semifinals blew up those plans. Phoenix responded by firing coach Monty Williams and replacing him with former Lakers coach Frank Vogel, and now the team reportedly plans to waive guard Chris Paul after three seasons.
Even accounting for the Suns’ abrupt playoff exit, NBA observers greeted the news of Paul’s departure with surprise Wednesday afternoon.
With the Lakers pinpointed as a team in need of veteran bench help, many joked about previous commissioner David Stern’s infamous veto of a trade that would have sent Paul to the Lakers in December 2011.
Others pointed to a story Paul recently told about his daughter being teased at school over his lack of an NBA championship.
Chris Paul: let's run it back guys, my daughter is getting bullied— I Think You Should League Pass (@nbaleave) June 7, 2023
Chris Paul's daughters bullies tomorrow pic.twitter.com/Lkmpqv8JwY— ѕмιℓєу 💽 (@LifeOfRodeo6God) June 7, 2023
Many discussed the timing of the news, just hours before tip-off in Game 3 of the NBA Finals between the Heat and Denver.
Michael Malone when Denver is getting no attention today because of Chris Paul, Shaq & Zion Williamson pic.twitter.com/sc8J8JbjC2— mariah rose (@mariahcrose) June 7, 2023
Michael Malone when he sees Chris Paul trending on Twitter and not the Nuggets being in the NBA Finals— Lakers All Day Everyday (@LADEig) June 7, 2023
One fan sees a potential return to Phoenix for Paul under different contract terms.
Waive Chris Paul and pay him his guaranteed $15M. Use the taxpayer mid-level exception that you just got from clearing half of CP3's full salary from your books on a free agent. Re-sign Chris Paul for a vet min pic.twitter.com/qUa8tZtGTq— sreekar (@sreekyshooter) June 7, 2023
... but elsewhere the move was celebrated.
CHRIS PAUL HAS BEEN WAIVED pic.twitter.com/FZ69NzEnhW— 𝘚𝘵𝘶𝘯𝘯𝘢†🐦⬛ (@Stunna999_) June 7, 2023
Chris Paul getting ready to train with KD and Book this summer: pic.twitter.com/b4t8Hwe9kK— FourAndItsOVER🏀🌉 (@_b0y1da_) June 7, 2023