Carmelo Anthony looms on the horizon as a potential free agent or trade acquisition for the Knicks, while Chris Paul is registering again on the trade rumor screen.
The trade rumor mill has swung full circle! Carmelo Anthony's story drifts into the background and Chris Paul's name returns to prominence. Yes, that Chris Paul, who toasted the formation of an NBA super team in Gotham with Amare' Stoudemire, Anthony and Paul of course. Paul's name was mentioned in a recent article by Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News. The article discusses the plight of various NBA teams in transition that have been reported to be on the selling block.
Amongst those franchises, are Paul's New Orleans Hornets. Lawrence points out that a near done deal between current Hornet's majority owner George Shin and minority owner Gary Chouest recently fell through. Choest is reportedly a tycoon with deep pockets. His purchase of a majority share of the Hornets was believed to usher in a freer spending era. An era that may have have enticed Paul to stay with a deeper more talented and restocked Hornets' roster. Those hopes may have just faded and the tighter purse strings of current majority owner Shin may be the Hornets' marching orders going forward, while the organization is still peddled to prospective buyers.
Lawrence, article draws the correct assumption that the status quo of tight purse strings in New Orleans may just return Paul onto the NBA's trade blocks. The tighter purse strings from Hornets ownership may return Paul to that alienated and isolated feeling of having to be the lone Superstar carrying an undermanned roster. Can you say hello to more Knicks trade speculation. Question this time is who should Knicks' management move on first between Anthony and Paul?
Below is a case for Anthony and Paul respectively and a case for the measured and patient Donnie Walsh approach. Which one would you choose? Would you suggest a different course of action? Chime in.
The Melo man is closer towards his free agent exit hatch than CP3, as a result he has more leverage to angle for his desired destination. With only one year of play remaining on his contract with the Nuggets, Melo can opt out at the end of the year to test free agency should Denver attempt to play hard ball with him. From that perspective, Anthony can stay off less desirable scenarios by simply refusing to agree to an extend and trade and dare the Nuggets to lose him for nothing as the trade deadline approaches. In a sense the passage of time may just be on Anthony's side. Such leverage increases with the passage of the regular season. Since Denver may not want to lose Anthony for nothing at free agency, they may have to relent to a less than ideal trade transaction with the Knicks. By that time Eddy Curry, a 2011 first rounder (via trade of Wilson Chandler) a player from amongst Anthony Randolph, Danilo Gallinari, Toney Douglas or Landry fields might do the trick.
Because of the duration of CP3's contract, any exit plans he may have are forestalled until 2012 when his contract with the Hornets' expires. As a result any wait for Paul will be a long and drawn out affair. But alas, perhaps the reported tighter organizational purse strings may make Hornets' ownership more likely to deal their franchise player as part of a cost cutting rebuilding move. Good thing, Walsh, acquired a mix of a solid veteran point guard, young prospects and expiring contracts to manuever for a player of Paul's caliber. However, obtaining Paul via trade (like obtaining Anthony) may come with a larger suggested asking price. On the other hand if the Knicks are able to angle for Paul this season while still retaining enough cap space flexibility to angle for Anthony (who is only a year away) in free agency, A Knicks big three may only be a season away. Could a package of players including Raymond Felton, Kelenna Azabuike, a 2011 first rounder (via trade of chandler) with a 2014 first rounder and either Anthony Randolph, Danilo Gallinari, Toney Douglas, Roger Mason Jr. or Landry Fields do the trick?
Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul rocking Knicks gear in the near future. Now that's a site Knicks fans, including Peaceman and I would love to see (picture courtesy of the graphic arts wizardry from www.Katchop.com).
The measured and patient approach (Get them both at the end of this season. One via free agency, the other via trade):
It seems that either way you look at it Getting one of either Anthony or Paul may set the dominoes in effect for the other to join a migration towards the Mecca. The Knicks will surely keep their ear on the trade phones to monitor activities. What if the Knicks wait out trades that would compromise the apparently promising supporting cast they have built up over the course of this summer. Is time both on the Knicks, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul's side? Would the price be to steep in the present yet more favorable during the passage of time?
Currently (according to many reports) the Knicks wouldn't have enough assets to enter and complete a trade transaction for Anthony's services. These reports continue despite the advantage Anthony maintains in leverage. An advantage that continues to grow as the season plays out. Although Walsh has insisted to the contrary regarding the value of the players he's acquired over the summer, Denver's hard line stance puts into play a game of cat and mouse between the Knicks (and other suitors for Anthony's services) and Nuggets ownership. That game is unlikely to change while there is still time for the Nuggets to angle for more in return for their franchise forward. The same can be said of Paul, given that there is still two years remaining on his contract.
Currently, the Nuggets and Hornets enjoy a buyer's market, awaiting an goading a foolish buyer to poney up the farm for their lone stallion. In the current seller's market, Paul lacks the leverage that Anthony currently has. A leverage which increases with the course of time transforming potential suitors into the Cats pursuing a mouse desperate for scraps as the clock strikes midnight. The passage turning a seller's market in the Knicks buyer's market. Hence, should the clock strikes midnight on the Nuggets posturing, they may just walk away empty handed. Anthony will be only a free agency signing away (CBA be dammed). If the Knicks acquire Anthony in free agency, they could then play the Cat and Mouse game with Paul and the Hornets.
By playing a waiting game (while having their finger on the pulse of happenings in Denver and New Orleans) wouldn't the Knicks be in better position to nab both Anthony and Paul? Do you think the next CBA will detrimentally cut out the duration and pay scale advantage that apparent franchise players and superstars like Anthony enjoy? Do you think the league will do so given its reliance on the marketability and cache of their superstars? A buyer's market turned a seller's market may be the Knicks ally.