Schmeelk: The Chris Paul Fantasy
By John Schmeelk
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And here I was thinking that I would actually be able to talk about basketball once the lockout was over. WRONG! Instead I feel like I am in a Carmelo Anthony time warp taking me back to February where trade rumors trumped all reason.
With names like Dwight Howard and Deron Williams being thrown around, the name everyone can’t help but talk about is Chris Paul and his apparent obsession of coming to the Knicks.
An typically, no one is using any of their brain power in actually figuring out how this is going to play out. Here are some facts:
- Chris Paul wants out of New Orleans. Unless they bring in some serious talent that proves to him they are capable of competing for a championship soon, he’s gone. Odds are against that happening so one way or another in October of 2012 he’ll be playing for a new team.
- It appears he does have some type of desire to eventually come to the Knicks. He has a close relationship with Carmelo Anthony and knows that along with Amar’e Stoudemire they have legit championship potential.
- The Knicks have no real assets to trade for Chris Paul. Unless Landry Fields vastly improves in his second season or Iman Shumpert is a legit Rookie of The Year candidate, the Knicks have no young players that other teams value for anything but expiring contracts.
- If Chris Paul waits until free agency to come to the Knicks, he will sacrifice at least 20 million dollars over the course of a four year contract. That’s significant money. Over a potential five-year contract from re-signing with the Hornets, the dollar difference grows even larger.
So will Chris Paul sacrifice money and length of a potential contract to come to the Knicks? Only time will tell. But the Knicks fan base should not be obsessed with Chris Paul for the entire season because nothing is going to happen between the Hornets and Knicks until the offseason, regardless of his trade demands.
That also leads to another question: Is the Knicks 13 million dollars of potential cap space next year best spent on one player? Even if it is the best pass-first point guard in the NBA? If Mike D’Antoni is still the head coach and his point guard-centric system is still in place, then it might be. Paul would run the pick and roll with Stoudemire extremely well and get Carmelo Anthony tons of easy shots in transition.
But what if Iman Shumpert looks like a keeper in his first year? What if Mike D’Antoni is no longer the coach and the new head man wants a more traditional slow it down, defense-oriented system? Paul, Anthony and Stoudemire taking up virtually the entire salary cap space would be a huge hole at center and at shooting guard. Using all that money on Chris Paul in those circumstances would be foolish.
The Knicks will have to wait and see. Fans who worry about Chris Paul all season are wasting their of time and energy. For now it’s better to worry about what veterans the Knicks can woo on one-year contracts. That will determine their success in 2011-2012, and I’ll detail those options in tomorrow’s post. You can follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/#!/Schmeelk.
Do you think 2011-12 is shaping up to be a transition year for the Knicks? Sound off in the comments below…