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All-Star guard Chris Paul sent to Suns in blockbuster trade

FILE - Oklahoma City Thunder guard Chris Paul (3) is interviewed during an NBA basketball media day in Oklahoma City, in this Monday, Sept. 30, 2019, file photo. A person with knowledge of the situation says All-Star guard Chris Paul is being traded from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Phoenix Suns, where he'll play alongside one of the league's most dynamic young scorers in fellow All-Star Devin Booker. The Thunder are acquiring Ricky Rubio, Kelly Oubre, Jalen Lecque, Ty Jerome and a first-round pick that will be conveyed sometime between 2022 and 2025, said the person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the trade had not been finalized by the league. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)

Chris Paul holds a $44 million option for the 2021-22 season, a massive payday that may have kept some teams from trying to trade for the All-Star point guard.

The Phoenix Suns weren’t deterred.

They have a pair of All-Stars in their backcourt now, with hopes the duo of Paul and Devin Booker — one of the league’s most dynamic young scorers — will be enough to get the franchise back to the postseason for the first time since 2010.

The trade sending Paul to the Suns from Oklahoma City was completed Monday night, a blockbuster to start what could be a wild few days of NBA transactions before training camps begin next month.

The particulars: The Suns get Paul and forward Abdel Nader, while the Thunder get Kelly Oubre Jr., Ricky Rubio, Ty Jerome, Jalen Lecque and a protected 2022 first-round pick.

“We are excited to welcome Chris Paul and Abdel Nader to Phoenix,” Suns general manager James Jones said. “Chris’ leadership and competitive approach to the game will have an immeasurable impact on our team. Abdel possesses all the traits on and off the court that will complement our culture.”

Rubio reacted to the trade news with a tweet, several hours before the moves got league approval and could be considered official: “… what a business,” he wrote.

It is a huge leap for the Suns, who went 8-0 inside the NBA’s restart bubble at Walt Disney World in a frantic, but futile, quest to make the playoffs. Paul is owed about $41 million for this season and has that player option for next season, but the Suns obviously felt that is money worth spending.

Paul was an All-Star for the 10th time this past season, averaging 17.6 points and 6.7 assists. Phoenix becomes his fourth team in less than four years; he was with the Los Angeles Clippers through the 2016-17 season, then spent two years in Houston, then last year with the Thunder after being acquired as part of the trade that sent Russell Westbrook to the Rockets.

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