The Phoenix Suns received some brutal news during All-Star Weekend when they learned that star point guard Chris Paul will be out at least 6-to-8 weeks due to an avulsion fracture in his right thumb. This is an absolute bummer for a Suns team that is dominating the 2021-22 campaign so far.
With seven weeks remaining in the regular season, CP3 is in jeopardy of missing the start of the playoffs, where Phoenix looks to avenge a painful Finals loss in 2021.
The Suns have already been looking at the buyout market for added reinforcements ahead of the postseason. Paul’s injury likely changes their strategy moving forward as they tread this last stretch of the season without their veteran leader. Goran Dragic could have been a prime target, given his history in Phoenix, but the Brooklyn Nets already scooped the former All-Star up.
With Dragic no longer available, here are three candidates the Suns must sign after Chris Paul’s injury.
Suns Buyout Market Targets
1. John Wall
John Wall has yet to suit up this 2021-22 season after he and the Houston Rockets agreed to sit him out while they seek for a possible trade destination for the five-time All-Star. The trade deadline has passed and Wall is still a Rocket.
There doesn’t appear to be a plan for the 31-year-old to seek a buyout from the Rockets and let go of the chance to cash in on the remaining $47.3 million of his current deal. But if the opportunity to play significant minutes for a championship-caliber team presents itself, perhaps Wall will consider forgoing his player option next season for the chance to win a title this year.
Among all the buyout candidates, the former Kentucky star is probably the best suited player to “replace” Paul for Phoenix. While Wall is by no means a “Point God” like CP3, he is a former All-Star player in this league and is still one of the better passers and facilitators at the point guard spot.
Despite missing over a year-and-a-half due to injury, Wall showed in the 2020-21 season that he still looks much like the player he was prior to his Achilles tear. In 40 games for the Rockets last season, he averaged 20.9 points and 6.9 assists.
2. Dennis Schroder
The Boston Celtics dealt Dennis Schroder to a Rockets squad that is focused on developing its young talent. With that, Houston could look to buyout the 28-year-old.
Schroder is far from the pass-first guard that Chris Paul is. But there is no denying his ability to provide the Suns another ball handler to ease the offensive load off of Devin Booker.
Getting the German guard would not just help the Suns steady the ship while Paul is out, but he will also be huge for them in the postseason when the 12-time All-Star returns.
Remember, Schroder played alongside CP3 with the Oklahoma City Thunder during the 2019-20 season, the year he finished second in Sixth Man of the Year voting. He already knows what it’s like to play with Paul and be successful with him. He could return to being that efficient 19-point, off-the-bench scorer he became with the Thunder.
This move could not just help Phoenix title chances, but also benefit Schroder into landing a huge contract this upcoming offseason. He already blew $84 million out the water and rehabilitating his image in a winning situation could help mitigate the money he lost last summer.
On the season, Schroder is averaging 14.2 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 4.4 assists.
3. Eric Bledsoe
Would he want to be here?
When Eric Bledsoe made his infamous “I don’t wanna be here” tweet, he was part of an atrocious Phoenix team that was a perennial cellar dweller in the NBA. But now with the Suns sitting atop the league standings, maybe the 32-year old would be open to play in Phoenix again.
The Los Angeles Clippers traded Bledsoe to the Portland Trail Blazers before the deadline. The Blazers don’t seem poised to go on a full-blown rebuild with Damian Lillard still adamant on sticking around. Still, with Anfernee Simons’ emergence as a future star, there could be a possibility that Bledsoe may have a very short tenure in Portland.
Phoenix may be in desperate need of backcourt help and bringing back an ex-Suns player and former Chris Paul backup could help weather the storm until their veteran leader returns.
A career 33.6 percent 3-point shooter, Bledsoe won’t help space the floor for Phoenix. But he’s still a capable playmaker and slasher on the offensive end.
In 54 games with the Clippers this season, Bledsoe averaged 9.9 points, 3.4 rebounds and 4.2 assists.