The biggest asset the Washington Wizards received in the Bradley Beal trade was All-Star guard Chris Paul. The 38-year-old floor-general has one year left on his contract worth $30.8 million a year before a fully non-guaranteed deal for the 2024-25 season.
Paul may be past his prime but he is still a very valuable player, especially as a regular-season performer. He is almost certainly not worth the salary he is going to be making next year, but he is a fierce competitor, a great leader, and an excellent passer. He still averaged 13.9 points and 8.9 assists in 32 minutes last season on a very good Phoenix team. There is no denying that he could still be a contributor on a playoff team.
His main problem is his inability to stay healthy for an entire playoff run. He consistently breaks down in the playoffs, and either misses key games or underperforms due to injury. However, if he goes to a team with solid depth, he could coast during the regular season playing around 25 minutes a game, saving himself for the playoffs.
The injury concerns and his big salary are the reasons teams aren’t going to be willing to offer significant packages for the aging point guard. Expecting teams to give up major assets for a 38-year-old guard who is unreliable in the playoffs is not realistic.
However, there should still be a market for Chris Paul’s services. The Wizards, in exchange, could receive other bad salaries that they could use to flip later. Another option would be to try to revive the trade values of players they receive or re-sign them if their ages fit the Wizards’ timeline.
If the trade market for Paul is cooler than expected, there is no harm in keeping him. If Paul performs well during the regular season, there could be a market for him at the trade deadline. Worst case scenario, he walks next summer.
They can only do this if Paul wants to remain in Washington. If he likes to explore his options to see if he can win a ring before he retires, the Wizards will not have a choice but to let him go. The Wizards would prefer that happen via a trade for one of these packages, rather than having to buy him out or waive him.