Western Rumors: CP3, Wolves, Simmons, Barton, Thunder

Addressing Chris Paul‘s contract situation during an appearance on Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo, Suns owner Robert Sarver said he wasn’t sure whether or not the veteran point guard would pick up his player option.

Asked if there was a scenario in which Paul opts out and doesn’t return, Sarver replied, “I don’t know. I’m sure there probably is. But I think our first priority would be to try to get him back, but that’ll depend on his agent and (Suns general manager) James (Jones) and him and me and all that kind of stuff, so I don’t know. We’ll see next week I guess, right?”

Despite Sarver’s hedging, I’d still be a little surprised if Paul and the Suns don’t either agree to an extension or a new contract in the coming days. The Suns owner added that he’s prepared to begin paying luxury tax penalties either next season or the following year, as team salary continues to rise.

Here’s more from around the West:

  • The Timberwolves don’t have a pick in Thursday’s draft, but they’ve been making calls “all over the league,” according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic, who says Minnesota remains in the hunt for a power forward. A trade for Ben Simmons is unlikely, but the Wolves haven’t given up on the possibility in the event the Sixers drop their asking price, Krawczynski adds.
  • There’s “growing optimism” that Will Barton and the Nuggets will be able to agree to a new deal in free agency, writes Mike Singer of The Denver Post. Barton turned down his $14.7MM player option for 2021/22, but remains interested in returning to Denver on a longer-term contract.
  • John Hollinger of The Athletic has heard some chatter about the possibility of the Thunder trying to trade up to No. 3 in order to select Evan Mobley. However, he notes that the Cavaliers – and other teams that talk to Oklahoma City – will likely try to extract a king’s ransom, given the Thunder’s stockpile of draft picks. OKC may not be willing to pay that price.