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Paul will get extra possibilities to carry Suns – and himself – a title

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PHOENIX (AP) — Chris Paul proved to be an ageless wonder in his first season with the Phoenix Suns, leading the franchise back to the NBA Finals for the first time in nearly three decades.

Now he’ll get another chance to lead the Suns — and himself — to a long-coveted championship.

Phoenix is bringing back the veteran point guard on a four-year deal that could be worth up to $120 million, a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press on Monday.

It’ll keep him with with the Suns until he’s 40 years old.

Paul helped the Suns reach the NBA Finals this season. They won the first two games but then dropped four straight to the Milwaukee Bucks. The 36-year-old strongly hinted during the Game 6 postgame press conference that he wanted to return to help the Suns win their first NBA title and thought the roster was good enough to do it.

“Everybody in that locker room knows we had enough, but it wasn’t enough,” Paul said following the Finals loss. “So, we got to figure it out. I think for me I just look at myself and figure out how can I get better, what I could have done more and make sure I come back next season ready to do it again.”

The deal wasn’t a big surprise, but it does come with considerable risk. The list of any NBA players — let alone point guards — who have remained All-Star-caliber players in their late 30s is a short one.

But Paul is well known for taking care of his body and he was terrific at age 36, making his 11th All-Star team while averaging 16.4 points and 8.9 assists per game.

Paul’s decision to stay with the Suns means the team’s nucleus — which includes Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton, Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson and Jae Crowder —- should stay intact. Paul has said repeatedly he’s comfortable in Phoenix, teaming with his fellow All-Star Booker in the backcourt and playing for coach Monty Williams, who is a close friend.

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Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul tries to pass around Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton during the first half of Game 6 of basketball's NBA Finals in Milwaukee, Tuesday, July 20, 2021.

AP Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds contributed to this story.

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More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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