Chris Paul says Isiah Thomas was involved in Suns owner Mat Ishbia’s decision to trade him to Wizards

The Phoenix Suns and Washington Wizards are going to look a whole lot different next season after the two sides agreed to a trade that will send Chris Paul to D.C., with Bradley Beal headed to the Valley of the Sun. The exact framework of the deal still needs to be ironed out, but the Wizards will be getting Paul, Landry Shamet, multiple second-round picks and multiple pick swaps. The Suns get Beal, Jordan Goodwin and and Isaiah Todd in the deal, but Beal is the obvious draw to bolster an already potent offensive attack in Phoenix that includes Devin Booker and Kevin Durant.

Paul could still be rerouted to a different team, with reports suggesting a reunion with the Los Angeles Clippers as a possibility. However, the deal happening at all caught the veteran All-Star guard by surprise, as he first found out about the deal from his 14 year old son.

“It’s just — it’s tough,” Paul said in an interview with the New York Times. “Seriously, it is part of the business, and what you realize is that no one owes you anything. No matter how you are with them or what you do, you realize that in this business, nobody owes you anything, as it should be. But when it comes through and my son texts me, I realize that, you know, Mat [Ishbia] and Isiah [Thomas], I guess, just wanted to go in a different direction.”

Paul said that he had talked to Suns president James Jones recently, and when asked if he was given any indication that he was going to get traded to the Wizards, Paul said he was “surprised.” The 12-time All-Star also said on several occasions that team owner Mat Ishbia and Isiah Thomas wanted to go in a different direction, suggesting that perhaps Thomas does have some decision-making power despite the Suns refuting that earlier in the season. 

Ishbia and Thomas have a close friendship that extends into the business world, and after Ishbia became the owner of the Suns in February there were reports suggesting that the Hall of Fame basketball player would have a “prominent role” in the front office. However, shortly after those reports surfaced, a spokesperson for Ishbia refuted that initial report, saying “Thomas won’t have a position in the team’s front office, and isn’t part of the team transition.”

With Paul saying on more than one occasion that “Mat and Isiah wanted to go in a different direction,” it suggests that Thomas at least is helping advise Ishbia on roster moves, despite what he and the Suns said back in February. If Thomas does have some sort of role in the front office, it’s unclear what that would be given Jones is the president and general manager of the team. However, Ishbia didn’t hire Jones, that was a move from the previous regime, so if Thomas is already helping make decisions about the roster, perhaps a spot in the front office could be on the horizon for him. 

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