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Sources: Chris Paul declines $44M player option

Phoenix Suns star Chris Paul has formally declined the $44 million player option on his contract for next season, but both Paul and the Suns are motivated to negotiate a new deal once talks can begin at 6 p.m. ET on Monday, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Paul had a midnight ET deadline to decline the option and become an unrestricted free agent.

Paul was faced with the decision after coming just two wins away from the first championship of his 16-year career in his first season with the Phoenix Suns.

The 11-time All-Star is coming off a season in which he averaged 16.4 points on 49.9 percent shooting (39.5 percent from 3), 8.9 assists and 1.4 steals per game

Paul won’t get too many more bites at the apple, so his decision in free agency could very well determine if he’ll finish his career with a ring or not.

Following the Suns’ Game 6 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA Finals, Paul seemingly hinted at interest in staying in Phoenix to help the Suns get over the hump.

“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,” he said.

ESPN’s Dave McMenamin contributed to this report.

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