Chris Paul to Knicks Isn't Looking Good

If Paul is dealt, it won't be to the Knicks

By Josh Alper
|  Wednesday, Dec 7, 2011  |  Updated 11:39 AM EDT
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The good news is that the Chris Paul trade discussions don't look like they will create the season-long distraction that the Carmelo Anthony pursuit provided last season.

The bad news is that the Knicks seem more likely to wind up owning the rights to Mrs. Paul's Fish Sticks than they do the rights to the coveted point guard.

Everybody on the NBA trade beat is reporting that the Hornets are moving fast to deal Paul before the start of the season with teams like the Clippers, Warriors and Celtics potentially offering the kind of chips (Eric Gordon, Stephen Curry, Rajon Rondo) that get a deal like this done.

What can the Knicks offer? Chauncey Billups, Iman Shumpert, Jerome Jordan, Landry Fields and not much else.

It's not the end of the world for the Knicks, though.

Paul has to opt-out of his deal in order to get the max deal he would demand to stay with any team after this year, so there's always going to be a chance that he'll wind up in New York as a free agent.

Getting Paul and adding/keeping other (admittedly meager) assets would be the best case scenario for the Knicks, one they weren't willing to risk during the Anthony chase last season.

The impossibility of signing Paul to an extension before a deal is consummated means that those bold names listed above are less likely to be part of the mix, which confirms that wherever Paul winds up the big losers in this affair will be the integrity of David Stern and the other owners who pushed the league to the lockout.

The claim was that they needed the lockout to foster more competitive balance and limit the ability of stars to hold teams hostage, but that's out the window before the start of training camp.

What the league should have realized is that star players will always have leverage because they are the most important thing to the league.

The issue was how much owners have been willing to pay mediocre players, something you can bet won't change no matter what rules are put in place because owners can't help themselves.

For a deal that changed nothing, then, we lost 16 games and will be treated to a condensed schedule full of travel nightmares and back-to-back-to-back games that will compromise the on-court product. Well done, everybody!

Because the Hornets are owned by the NBA, things are even dicier because they can't really do any deal without creating howls from around the league.

They will be choosing to boost one team over all the rest, something that raises all kinds of issues about conflict of interest, especially if Paul winds up playing for the Knicks or Lakers.

Those issues are obviously of little interest to Knicks fans who simply want to see the best possible team on the court this season. Negotiations are afoot with several players who range, depending on the sources, from Grant Hill to Kurt Thomas to Bostjan Nachbar.

It looks like Jared Jeffries will be back to perform his brand of offensive nihilism, so that's another body for the Friday start of training camp. It's not Paul, but it's a reminder that the Knicks will be playing this season whether or not Paul comes rolling through the door.

And, from what anyone can tell, he won't be rolling through the door.

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