Father Time may be undefeated, but in the meantime, cold, hard guaranteed cash seems to soothe the aging process.
Whether it’s Chris Paul or Kyle Lowry or the once-removed champion Lakers, age has not been a deterrent in the opening days of free agency.
There was money to go around, and spending it was a must. Not even a pandemic that took away 40 percent of league revenue or injuries that robbed so many players of valuable time were enough to keep teams from committing well over $30 million annually to players closer to 40 than 35.
Call it the Chris Paul effect, if you will.
Paul showing up in Phoenix and turning the Suns into NBA finalists turned heads around the league — in more ways than one. With the exception of the Golden State Warriors, any team that feels close enough to contention threw caution to the wind and money at players’ doorsteps.
Paul’s existing contract was once called the “worst in the NBA” when Tilman Fertitta was signing his checks in Houston, but he’s now garnered a four-year pact worth $120 million to keep the Suns in the penthouse of the West.
His penchant for being a one-man stimulus package on the floor helped him off it, as there were whispers of plenty of suitors readying themselves if Phoenix dropped the ball — like the New Orleans Pelicans, according to multiple sources.
While they didn’t want to pay young guard Lonzo Ball the freight the Chicago Bulls easily handed to him or wouldn’t, they seemed ready to give Paul the keys in hopes he would have the same effect with Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram that he’s had in Phoenix and Oklahoma City.