Report: Chris Paul Used New Orleans Pelicans' Major Offer As Leverage

After leading the Phoenix Suns to their first NBA Finals since 1993, Chris Paul was due for a payday. On August 2, the 36-year-old re-signed with the Suns on a four-year deal that could be worth up to $120 million. However, the partially guaranteed fourth year that was negotiated was based on a $100 million offer from the New Orleans Pelicans, per ESPN's Brian Windhorst on the "Hoop Collective" podcast.

The expected offer for the future Hall of Famer was a three-year deal, ranging anywhere from $90-$100 million. When reports surfaced that Paul had signed for four years, with a club option in year four, teams around the league took a double-take. Lo and behold, Paul's old stomping grounds wanted a reunion and were willing to swing for the fences — a move the savvy veteran used as leverage with the Suns.
Chris Paul, who [New Orleans] offered $100 million from what I understand. It helped convince Phoenix to give him at least [a] partially guaranteed fourth year… I think Chris entertained it for some period of time, Brian Windhorst explained.

In retrospect, it makes sense that the Pelicans would offer Paul a lucrative contract. It was reported that they were firmly in the running for Kyle Lowry before he ultimately signed with the Heat. They also elected to forgo re-signing Lonzo Ball, signing and trading him to the Bulls.

While Paul was able to negotiate a palatable long-term deal with the Suns — thanks to the Pelicans — his contract proves auspicious for the team as well. In year three of his contract, the 11-time All-Star is guaranteed 50% of his estimated earnings, while his final year is a team option. This leaves room for Phoenix to make adjustments to their roster in the future. For Paul, on the other hand, this contract guarantees him roughly $80 million — but at his level of play, he is likely to earn all $120 million.

Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports