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  1. #1
    Veteran mafra's Avatar
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    Question Mark Everything you want to know about Chris Paul to NYK (a 2011-2012 outlook)

    The lockout's over. But apparently the exact canker sore that caused such a rift between the owners & players still festers -- for now at least --and hardly hours after players began reporting to their respective team facilities, to catch balls from fetching machines, we have Deron Williams, Dwight Howard & Chris Paul speculative trade talks starting to bubble & boil.

    “He said this,” “It’s reported that,” “Sources say.” Oh freaking jolly!

    As Knick fans, we know all to well what life’s like on this ‘hope for a brighter day’ carousel. After the lost aughts-decade that defined the post Patrick era, we witnessed this firsthand; actually employing & encouraging such behavior, making this an organizational philosophy when Donnie Walsh arrived. We were told to sit tight & embrace the losing, we’re in for a bumpy 2 years but chin up because better days are ahead, and then we’re making a run at LJ+1.

    Little did we know that a plan was born during the 2008 Olympic Games, one that comes with the label: Made in China.

    Now it wasn’t just owners & GMs who conspired, but in this brave new world players started scheming, planning & working toward more than simple, lofty personal goals (chasing cash). While these motives weren’t altogether altruistic, the power of team-building shifted from the front office to the agents as players awoke to the realization that they sought to chase both cash & titles, and felt that the rule of the playground should apply: choose your own squad. And if a shoe deal, & clothing line, and a reality show & starlet came with that . . . then more power to ‘ya, yo!

    It’s early December, & for the first time since Bill Clinton was president I have legitimate hope for my beloved New York Knicks, to go with an earnest belief that they are a top-4 team in the Eastern Conference.

    We have the best offensive SF-PF duo in the sport (Amar’e-Anthony), a battle-tested gritty vet PG (Billups), to go with a sprinkle of young players with potential (Tony Douglas, Landry Fields, Iman Shumpert, Derrick Brown, Jerome Jordan, Bill Walker), a feisty competitor in Ronny Turiaf, & (hopefully) our surprising reclamation product (otherwise known as Shawne Williams).

    I admit, knowing Jared Jeffries is around for another 66 games gives me heartburn. But such is life. I’m not a D’antoni supporter, but I’m on board to give him this last season as his final exam. Put up or shut up time, Mike. Phil Jax looms brother.

    Nonetheless, this eclectic cast of characters, in the SSOL system, will be a pleasure to watch (and dare I say grow). After the Marburys, Anderson-Eisleys, Currys of the world, this is saying something. Good times have returned, I am about 300 yards beyond the outer fringes of excitement.

    I should be thinking about winning now though. I should be calling for the team to forgo cap space in 2012-2013, urging the team to make a run a DeAndre Jordan, Marc Gasol (both restricted) or Nene (unrestricted). I could at least be asking to dip our feet in the free agent waters, begging to forget about waiting for yet another max player: go make a run at Jamaal Crawford or Arron Afflalo & Tyson Chandler or Chucky Hayes. Let’s win now!

    Am I conditioned? Or has to bar sunk, & my standards lowered, that I’m now willing to push title aspiration back 1 more season (making this promised land I was told about after 2007 be 5 years in the making)?

    Enfin, here I am. I’m settling on free agents like Grant Hill & Jeff Foster. I’m poised to take a low risk – high reward guy like Michael Redd and be hip-hip-flipping happy about it. I’m prepared to enter the season with a SG who struggles to score, a bench devoid of a 3-point sniper, with guys like Jeffries & possibly Joorts in the rotation. I’m cool with a temp filling the lane at center. I’m ready for another 30-win season!

    I’m dreaming of a starting 5 (Billups-Hill-Carmelo-Amar’e-Brown).

    I’m ecstatic to have a bench where Douglas is my first G in the game (this guy is healthy, jacked, & ready to be a real consistent player), a combo G/F jack-of-all trades versatile guy in Fields (poor man’s T-Prince), Shawne Williams (tall sniper), play-defense bigs in Turiaf & Jeffries, to go with some young players w/ high ceilings in Walker, Shumpert & Jordan. Mix in an amnesty casualty for insurance. Stir & serve.

    But, then again, like a firefly drawn to a torch in the backyard I’m fascinated about this whole Chris Paul saga. Mainly because there are a plethora of asides & tertiary roads that branch off from this story, forming a web of debates that pit a bunch of personalities & interests against each other, conflicting emotions even within themselves.

    Also, though, because I know we won’t be players in free agency. Even halfway decent free agents, who would be bona fide additions to our roster, are demanding 2 years at the minimum. Our front office just isn’t prepared to go there. We basically know from what tier of players we’re going to get, the discount store we’re shopping at. We hold out hope that somebody takes less money to rebuild their rep, or sees this system/city/roster as an attraction. We’ll see.

    F I N A L L Y, I arrive at my point. Let me talk about why I am so interested in the Chris Paul drama. Sure, I want him playing at MSG, and would prefer it sooner rather than later. But really I’m find this intriguing because I want to see what this lockout was really about. I think the next 2 weeks will tell us that. Here’s why:

    1. What's most interesting about the 'Chris Paul-to-Knicks' scenario are the players invovled in . . . in management. New Orleans GM is Dell Demps, a former NYK scout & IsiahThomas confidant. He's already made a trade w/ NY (sending us a draft pick - Joorts - for a million bucks). Has a relationship with Dolan.

    This relationship is good news. Well, it's not West sending Gasol to LAL or McHale dealing KG to BOS, but knowing that Dolan's secret assistant (IT) is the mentor of NO's wheeler-&-dealer (DD)... If a deal is to be made, I'm sure it'll be far from an acrimonious process. Still, knowing our luck, Demps sees this as his moment in the sun, his time to shine, his make-or-break deal that either launches or sinks his front office career.

    2. Then there's the reality of who ultimately is in control of the Hornets. The NBA is running things for now. This means all decisions boil down to Mr. David Stern, and this means the motives here are ambigious at best. I would like to think (ala Ewing draft) that Stern sees the value sending Paul to NY. Building a big market obstacle to the HEATles makes perfect sense.

    Newton's 3rd Law of Motion at work here. Every action has an equal & opposite reaction. Players built MIA Frankenstein, so NBA battles that w/ the NYK big-3.

    It'll help get rid of the bad taste in our mouths, caused by this foolish lockout mess which was preceded by owners crawling-groveling-bowing to the King in a CLE business office, and would set up a potential dynastic rivalry on par w/ Larry-Magic & MJ-NY, when the NBA was celebrating its "golden era."

    I feel it's hard to balance the needs/interests of Stern, & the NBA owner's.

    On one hand, commissioner David Stern had tried to reduce the leverage players have in demanding trades in the new CBA... but on the other hand we have the fact that THE LAST THING STERN WANTS IS FOR DERON, PAUL & HOWARD TO REPLAY WHAT WENT ON IN DENVER LAST YEAR. This would only serve as a reminder of everything that ticked off small market owners in the pre-lockout era, which we supposedly put behind us!

    On a side note, I don't understand why the MELOdrama was so destructive for DEN? The Nuggets managed to snag 4 starters from our roster (Felton, Chandler, Gallo, MOZ) plus draft picks & cash. I mean, wouldn't the 'do-not-copy' template be what happened in TOR & CLE?

    So, is it better to get proven young NBA talent (DEN) or to hold out in a game of chicken & call the player's bluff, settling for draft picks when all is said & done, rolling the dice in the draft (CLE & TOR)?

    Tough call huh? 50/50 thang, right. You can make an argument for each side. Flip the coin, time will tell, _____ (your cliche here).

    3. I make this point #3, but this is really the only thing that matters: CP3 is in total and complete control here. For this season, & next, teams that are over the cap can pull off sign-&-trades for players. I believe this is not the case after 2013. Anyway, for this season, & next year, free agents to be or players with opt-outs, they have all the leverage. They can threaten to walk which means their teams have 3 options:

    - Find a sucker who'll give you valuable assets for a rental player who won't sign an extension.

    - Trade player for 40 cents on the dollar (or less).

    - Call bluff, play it all out, & when he signs with another team crawl back to that player offering him 15-20 million more dollars by working out a sign & trade, thus settling for a draft pick or two.

    So disregard the nonsense you're reading now. OF COURSE, NO would love S-Curry for Paul. But why would GSW, or BOS, or anyone trade w/ NO knowing Paul won't agree to an extension?

    It's all semantics. Letting Demps know you won't sign an extension in NO, and adding to that you'll refuse to sign an extension w/ any team other than NYK... that's akin to demanding a trade (if you ask me). What will Paul do? We will find out.

    4. Now there are 2 main . . . no H-U-G-E . . . factors to consider here when it comes to playing this game of chicken. One issue should concern NO, while the other should cause Paul to sweat a little.

    - The Knicks don’t have their 2012 or 2014 first-round picks. Under NBA rules, the Knicks can’t trade a first-round pick until 2016 because a team can’t be without a pick in back-to-back years. The Knicks’ 2012 pick is with Houston from the Tracy McGrady deal and the 2014 pick went to Denver.

    This means that NYK could only offer the Fields-Shump-Douglas sort of package if this deal is put off until next July. This means that NO is better served making a deal before the trade deadling, for at least they can drag a 3rd team into the mix and use Billups as a chip to snag another piece.

    - According to via a bleacher report: "But here’s the most important thing that nobody seems to realize: The most lucrative option for ANY player, based on the new CBA, is to become a free agent and re-sign with the team that holds their Bird Rights. That’s the only way to get the fifth guaranteed year."

    As the NY Post notes: "There’s a reason Paul would want to go now and not wait until 2012. According to the new tentative CBA, if Paul is traded before Jan. 1, he could retain Bird rights with that new team and sign a lucrative extension deal spanning five years after the season. If he waits until the summer, he can sign with the Knicks for four years but at less-than-the-max, about $13 million."

    So, this means, that not only would Paul leave money on the table if he waits until free agency to leave NO to sign w/ NYK but even if a sign & trade is completed then he still leaves money on the table. We're talking about 20 mil people. Paul wont leave 20 mil. Carmelo wouldn't. Obviously, if Carmelo waited... we would have package to get Paul. Oh well.

    5. Finally, we have to consider the mental aspect of this ordeal. CP3 is not the same as Carmelo, b/c Anthony was dancing all alone... Paul is playing musical chairs here. There's Dwight Howard, Deron Williams, possibly Steve Nash... There are other options out there. Just as we worry & fret about having to wait this out and hope Paul chooses us next July, Chris Paul has to think about the same thing. What if? What if Knicks act now, sign a Nene and blah blah blah. What if we trade for Howard, keep Dantoni & sign Nash? Paul is the one in the bad spot, b/c NYK already has 2 super stars & a serviceable, proven PG.

    When you add it all up, you get a player (Chris Paul) who is wondering if NY has the patience to wait until next July... worrying about them suddenly changing directions & moving on to another plan of attack.

    He has to be asking himself the question: Will they do this a third time? First Lebron, then Carmelo... now me? When will enough be enough. After all, Walsh isn't around anymore. The pressure to WIN NOW persists even larger this season.

    Then you get a player thinking about his pocket, knowing he gets the MAX $ he can make w/ the Knicks if he's on our roster before Jan 1st.

    You have a person who doesn't want to endure the season-long questioning, & madness, that will accompany the 'opt-out-man' who is poised to flee New Orleans.

    You have a team owned by the NBA. Is this good or bad? One one side, Stern wants to keep value of org highest for potential buters, but on the flip side of the coin you don't have the ego of a pissed off owner trying to stick it to a player. Stern wont take this personal. It might help b/c he might want to make a big market team more attractive, and build a team in NYC that can give MIA a run for its money.

    Knicks have an in w/ NO’s front office.

    NBA owns the Hornets, which means the league will either try to prevent the players from wrestling leverage from the owners again or will work to prevent a replay of the entire fiasco that was a self-perpetuating rumor mill sapping the energies of all parties involved, looking to pull the tape off quickly & end it all before it even begins.

    So there it is. I'm allowing myself 3 weeks to get all wrapped up in this. When the season begins, I'm over it! Seriously. Then it's just BBALL and dat's all folks.

    So while I eagerly await what pieces we add to the roster, while I contemplate swapping Stoudemire for D-Howard, I will permit some CP3 indulgence here.

    I vacillate back & forth. Feel like we have .01% chance to get Paul in a trade, then feel the odds are in our favor. I then feel like might get him next July, then feel like there's no hope. For 3 weeks... I'll allow this to perculate, then I start rooting for victories!

  2. #2
    Veteran mafra's Avatar
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    Ian O'Connor says Dwight Howard should be our focus now, not Paul...

    [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]

    If the [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] are about to lose their breath chasing another superstar the way they chased [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] and [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] before him, they should at least identify the most sensible blue-chipper to recruit.

    [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] is bigger and better than [Only registered and activated users can see links. ], and he might be more attainable between now and the trade deadline, too. The Knicks don't have the necessary parts to deal for Paul because they surrendered everything but the Chrysler Building for Anthony, and rightfully so.
    [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]' expiring contract and a couple of misfit toys won't cut it for the [Only registered and activated users can see links. ], and the Knicks aren't interested in moving Anthony or [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] for Paul. You know how it goes -- never trade big for small.
    Only you do trade big for bigger, and that's where the 6-foot-11 Howard comes in. The [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] need to deal him. They can't let him walk as a free agent like they let [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] walk as a free agent in a different life.

    So the Knicks should offer Stoudemire or Anthony for Howard and see what Orlando says. If the Knicks can't deliver a credible bid for Paul, they certainly can deliver one for Howard.

    Not that such an offer would be made lightly. Stoudemire has embraced New York, played hurt, shown maturity in the locker room, and carried himself about town with dignity and grace. He accepted a challenge LeBron ran away from, and if this generation of Knicks ever wins the franchise's first title since 1973, New Yorkers will always remember Stoudemire as the first to sign up and the first to lead.
    Anthony? Jim Dolan didn't go through all that last winter to kiss Melomania goodbye less than a year later. But business is business, just like it was when Anthony told Dolan at the All-Star Game that he couldn't gamble on post-lockout free agency, and that he would accept a trade and his $65 million extension with the New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets if the Knicks didn't cough up the extra players required to close the deal with Denver.

    Dolan did what he had to do because getting Anthony was good for business then, just like getting Howard would be better for business now.

    All along, the notion of a future Knicks Big Three to compete with Miami's Big Three was built around the belief that Stoudemire and Anthony would represent two-thirds of the group. But who said the Knicks' Big Two had to be this Big Two?
    Either Howard-Stoudemire or Howard-Anthony would be stronger than Stoudemire-Anthony. If you were courtside in Orlando this past spring, when Howard dropped 30 points, 16 rebounds and five blocks on the Knicks, you would understand why.

    Stoudemire is an extra-large man, and yet he looked like [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] when he stood next to Howard and his video-game frame.

    That night in Orlando, Howard was asked about the prospect of someday ending up a Knick.

    "New York's a beautiful city to visit," he said, "but it's too cold for me."

    He was wearing a smile when he said it, but honestly, it didn't sound like he was joking.

    Nobody said this would be easy. The Lakers can offer sunny skies and [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] to Howard, and [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] and a talented friend or two to the Magic. The Nets can offer [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] and a new arena to Howard, and [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] and two first-rounders to the Magic.

    But if the Knicks were willing to ship either Stoudemire or Anthony, especially Anthony, they would put themselves in the game for Howard. And right now, they can't get in the game for Paul.
    On the heels of a report from ESPN's Chris Broussard that Paul wants to become a Knick, a report from Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski and Marc Spears stated that Paul's agent informed New Orleans management his client wants to be FedExed to Madison Square Garden. As the three journalists have a history of getting it right, whatever denials and non-denials are floating out there shouldn't be taken too seriously.

    Paul wants to be a Knick, wants to make his famous toast at Anthony's wedding come to be. While one source close to the situation maintained that Paul is "very intrigued by the Clippers" and that the Clippers are serious competitors for the point guard's services, the source also said, "The Knicks are the ones in the driver's seat. Chris is the Knicks' to lose."
    But unless Paul is willing to sacrifice tens of millions by signing as a free agent, lose him the Knicks probably will.

    So Howard should be New York's primary target. Back in his senior year of high school, I watched him live four times while researching a book, watched him break a full-court press all by himself by dribbling through and around five opponents half his size. The young Howard told me he thought he could develop into a better player than LeBron James, and I remember thinking that anyone who took [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] in the draft ahead of this kid would be positively nuts.

    All these years later, the first pick of that 2004 draft remains at the head of his class. Paul and Williams are desirable free-agent-to-be commodities, but they don't measure up to Howard in any literal or figurative way.
    So the Knicks should devote their time and energy to a more realistic and profitable trade scenario. Make a play for Howard with one of their Big Two, and then check back on Paul and Williams in July.

    Maybe Paul will make it to free agency and actually take a significant pay cut to sign with the Knicks. Maybe Williams will feel abandoned in Brooklyn, and beat Paul on the fast break to the Garden and his own scaled-down contract.

    Or maybe the Knicks will swing and miss on both point guards, and take their cap space elsewhere.

    In the end, it doesn't matter. Dwight Howard is better than anyone on the Knicks' roster and better than anyone else the Knicks want on their roster. He's the blue-chip recruit they need to chase.

    Ian O'Connor is the author of [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] "Sunday Morning With Ian O'Connor" can be heard every Sunday from 9 to 11 a.m. ET on ESPN New York 1050.

    Follow Ian O'Connor on Twitter: [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]

  3. #3
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    The thought of having 2 all star forwards and an all star Center most be scary to other teams, thats alot of big man balling. But, I see Howard going to the Nets before the Knicks. They are secretly willing and dealing over there and D.Will is pressing them to get him. They have the means to pull it off while it might cause the knicks a few good men to make that same deal.

  4. #4
    SWAGABURY KingStarbury3's Avatar
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    The Nets are a desperate team, Dwill will leave if they dont get dwight. Or perhaps both of them would still leave and sign elsewhere. If im the Magic i would absolutely rape the nets for everything. The nets would trade their whole team, they deserve to get raped for how they drove up the price for Melo with us. Thats why if your a Knicks fan the Nets should be the team you hate most. We havent really had a chance to develop a rivalry YET with the celtics or heat. I dont hate the celtics as much now. They're old and washed up, flabby n sick. They're not a threat and no one will want to sign there. They'll be stuck with Rondo missing open shots. The Heat and the Bulls are the real competition.

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