Just over two hours remain until the start of free agency, but perhaps the most interesting story as training camps open – for Knick fans, anyway – is the revelation that the the newly-minted collective bargaining agreement appears to contain a provision whereby players can restructure their existing contracts.
So might that mean that the Knicks still have a shot at acquiring Chris Paul, despite reports that they’re about to sacrifice their long-term cap space to sign Tyson Chandler?
Alan Hahn of Newsday suggests:
The [Tyson] deal, however, will eat up a large chunk of the salary-cap space that had been preserved for Paul, who can opt out next summer and become a free agent. A provision in the new collective-bargaining agreement, which was officially ratified by the players and approved by the owners Thursday, does allow players to restructure deals, so there is a chance Paul can be in play if Anthony and Stoudemire agree to help make some room.
Now, before fans go getting those replica Championship rings fitted, there are two major hurdle to this scenario becoming reality:
- If NBA blogosphere-opinion is any indication, Emperor Stern’s decision to reject the agreed-upon Paul-to-Lakers trade is sure to have “enormous consequences” for the league. The idea that a league-owned team is not operating under independent, basketball-minded management provides compelling validation to “frozen envelope” conspiracy theorists everywhere. It would not surprise anyone if Stern and the league reverse course – the three teams in the deal have already appealed the league’s decision according to ESPN’s Marc Stein – and allow Paul to be dealt to Hollywood. Should that happen, all of this becomes academic, anyway. As an aside, after taking a closer look at the players purportedly to be received by the New Orleans Hornets – scoring big man Luis Scola, scoring 2-guard Kevin Martin, versatile and proven small forward Lamar Odom, developing point guard Goran Dragic, and the Knicks’ infamous 2012 no. 1 pick (Tracy McGrady deal) – it sure seems like a good haul for Paul, who is guaranteed to leave the franchise.
- Far more importantly, Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony would have to be willing to give up money to fit Paul’s contract demands within the Knicks’ salary structure. The chances of that happening – regardless of estimates suggesting each player might only need to sacrifice $4M in year-one of a potential Paul deal – lie somewhere between Camby-slim and none. Think otherwise? Think the Knicks’ two stars are philanthropists with a desire to win above all else? If that were absolutely the case, Stoudemire wouldn’t have chased the money to Gotham, despite no guarantee that another star player would join him. If that were absolutely the case, Anthony wouldn’t have passive-aggressively
manipulatedorchestrated his departure from Denver, his preference for New York firmly hedged by his clear unwillingness to leave money on the table.
Don’t get me wrong, it would fantastic to see Paul join Amar’e, Carmelo and Chandler in the Garden. It’s just not realistic; even if the holiday season has you thinking otherwise.
As always, follow @LoHudKnicks on Twitter, and make your opinions known!