Potential Knicks free agent target Chris Paul plans to decline option for 2021-22 season: report

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Chris Paul Suns during playoffs against Lakers 2021
Chris Paul Suns during playoffs against Lakers 2021

Potential Knicks free agent target Chris Paul intends to decline his $44.4 million player option for the 2021-22 season in order to seek a multiyear deal this offseason, reports Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report.

Paul, whom the Knicks had interest in trading for before he was dealt to the Phoenix Suns last November, per SNY's Ian Begley, turned 36 years old in May but is in the midst of a tremendous season for Phoenix.

During the regular season, Paul averaged 16.4 points and 8.9 assists per game in 70 games for the Suns while shooting close to 50 percent from the field.

“I mean first and foremost, I love it here,” Paul said in April when asked about his future. “I don’t know how many years I’ve got left. I don’t really think about that, either. I feel too good.

"Seriously, this summer, I have no clue. As much as I’m involved in the union and stuff like that, I don’t know what anybody’s teams are, (what their) caps are, I don’t know none of that stuff. I just play."

Per Begley, some MSG people were wary of giving up too many assets in a Paul trade before the 2020-21 season because they wanted to ensure that New York had enough capital in place for a future trade for another high-profile player.

If Paul opts out of his deal, the Knicks -- who could have roughly $60 million in cap space this offseason -- won't have to worry about parting with assets for him.

As the Knicks explore an upgrade at point guard this offseason, another option could be possibly re-engaging the New Orleans Pelicans on a trade for Lonzo Ball.

Per Begley, in the final weeks of the regular season, there was still no consensus among Knicks decision-makers about Ball.