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Chris Paul could get his max deal in New York… just don’t bet on it

Dec 2, 2011, 10:43 AM EDT

Chris Paul AP

Chris Paul wants to go to the Knicks. Chris Paul also would like a massive payday of a bird-rights extension — five years and $100 million.

But he can’t get those two things the way Carmelo Anthony did, the new collective bargaining agreement takes that away. The Hornets could (in theory) do a sign-and-trade with the Knicks, but then the max-deal CP3 could receive would be the same as if the Knicks signed him as a free agent (four years, $74 million).

But there is a path to Paul being on the Knicks with a $100 million max deal.

Just don’t bet on it happening.

It’s three steps laid out by Zach Lowe at Sports Illustrated. The first step is where this process dies in the real world:

Force the Hornets to trade him to the Knicks without signing a contract extension in the process. This is the tricky part. The Hornets don’t have to trade Paul, and if they decide to, they don’t have to trade him to New York. Other teams have better assets, and Paul will be counting on those teams to bow out of the bidding if they think he will not re-sign there. Does this sound familiar?

The Hornets are not going to trade Chris Paul to the Knicks. First because the Knicks do not have the assets (picks and young players) needed as they sent them all to Denver to get Carmelo Anthony. (New York could, in theory, bring in a third and maybe fourth team to get the assets needed, but those are complex deals to pull off.)

The other thing is that the league owns the Hornets right now — after an entire lockout where David Stern preached “competitive balance” there is no way the league is going to sign off on trading a superstar to complete a trio in New York. The other owners would not tolerate it.

If Paul were somehow able to get traded to the Knicks the path to the max deal is really pretty simple, if a bit risky for the team.

If the Hornets eventually surrender and deal him to New York, Paul’s Bird Rights go with him. He must then become a free agent, either by declining his player option for 2012-13, or accepting that option, playing that season and becoming a free agent in the summer of 2013. By entering free agency as a Knick, Paul would escape the limitations in years and money that would come with engaging in a Carmelo-type extend-and-trade deal under this new collective bargaining agreement.

The last step is easy: Sign a five-year, $100 million extension with New York. The Knicks would have his Bird Rights, so they could exceed the cap as much as they wish to retain Paul.

Some player down the line is going to follow this pattern to get his max deal. Teams prefer the certainty of a sign-and-trade but if you trust the player doesn’t walk when he becomes a free agent this is doable. It is sort of what Deron Williams is doing now with the Nets — he may re-sign there but he wants to become a free agent to get the bigger payday.

But not Chris Paul. If he goes to the Knicks it will be as a free agent next summer.

  1. silk32 - Dec 2, 2011 at 10:49 AM

    I hope CP3, Amare and Melo get their wish. They will have raised the bar so high that anything less than a Chip won’t satisfy critics. However, there won’t be enough talent around them to win it all. I would love to see the “cat fight” that ensues with them pointing fingers at each other: “It’s her fault. No she did it. How could she go out in public and say she dated my man. You better get her . . . You better get her now!”

    There is so much estrogen in the NBA ’til it’s not even funny. “If I can’t play with my girls then I quit!”

  2. acdc363 - Dec 2, 2011 at 11:11 AM

    Silk you took the words out of my mouth. Why are nba stars such whiney girls? The hornets have no choice but to trade Paul now cause he isn’t gonna give 100% of he stays in N.O. These guys take such advantage of their talent it really isn’t like this in any other sport. What happened to honoring contracts? What happened to having more than 3 legitimate title contenders? !

  3. silk32 - Dec 2, 2011 at 11:18 AM

    acdc363 Sometimes you have to give people what they wish for. Everybody thinks he’s Mr. October, but everybody can’t produce like Reggie Jackson in the clutch. New York is a great market if you can produce. If you can’t then it’s the last place you want to be – 5 newspapers going in on you everyday. The constant pressure to win a championship every year and having to look over your shoulder for the moment the Knicks get rid of you for the next high priced free agent.

    Neither Melo, Amare, CP3 are Mr. October. Last time I checked Reggie had a Y-chromosome.

  4. marquisalexander - Dec 2, 2011 at 11:37 AM

    Lets be real here. The guy is willing to play out the rest of his contract and then he wants to decide where he wants to live, work, and raise his family. I don’t see anything wrong with that. He’s not “FORCING” New Orleans to trade him, they have a choice. Mind you they may not LIKE the choice, but they have a choice. They can sign and trade him and try to get SOMETHING in return or they can let him leave and he will get to work where he wants albeit for less money (taking into cost of living considerations of moving from NO to NY CONSIDERABLY less money).

    I think the Fans keep forgetting that this is a JOB. They get paid a lot of money for the JOB. Its a really fun JOB. But it is a JOB. Remember unlike Apple, Microsoft, or many other corporations, the NBA prohibits the players from owning any portion of their teams. They don’t get stock options, they don’t see any of the profit of the team aside from their salary. When they owners sell their franchises for Millions of dollars, the players don’t get a cut. The players don’t get a cut of the “Naming Rights” of the stadium (its not BRI). So their incentive to stay in one place and grow it (as you would a tech start up where your stock becomes more valuable as the value of the company increases) is NIL.

    When a great computer programmer decides to become a professional, he can choose where he wants to live, where he wants to work, he can go to a company that will give him stock options or a company that will give him security he has choices. Yes, they’re not as highly compensated out of college as a basketball player (but they also don’t bring in nearly as much revenue). When a basketball player decide to become professionals they’re DRAFTED. They have a choice of either playing in the city that drafted them (and collecting a salary) or finding something else to do for a living. Once that first contract is up and they’ve proven they are a worthwhile commodity WHY WOULDN’T they want to actually decided where they want work and live?

    • bababenny - Dec 3, 2011 at 8:06 PM

      Well said.

  5. silk32 - Dec 2, 2011 at 11:44 AM

    Riddle me this: Do people get paid “by the word” to post on this site? Getting all emotional and giving me “two for one”? Hear they are selling Y-chromosomes half off at Walmart.

  6. leearmon - Dec 2, 2011 at 11:58 AM

    I find it so funny to hear people continue to say, “The Hornets won’t trade Paul to the Knicks..” considering the same people also said, “The Denver Nuggets won’t trade Carmelo Anthony to the Knicks..” I mean can we have just a slight bit of journalistic integrity? Say the same thing in the article as you have, but also have a small line, “But I thought the same thing last season and now stand corrected” or something along those lines. 1 year ago this site, and this writer in particular stated over and over again how The Nuggets didnt like the Knicks’ offer for Anthony, and how the Nets offer was so much better and the Nuggets won’t trade Melo to NYC. Yet miraculously it still happened! The same talent that this site and others said was lackluster, magically turned into great young pieces. If the Hornets are faced with trading Paul for an expiring contract, a first team rookie selection and a backup point guard, or have Paul leave empty handed, what do you think will happen? Unless there is another New Jersey Nets team who will risk trading for Paul without a guarantee he’ll re-sign, I can’t imagine a better offer than what the Knicks will give. Who do you think will offer several first round picks and young assets for a player who has already said he wont re-sign for several contending teams?

    • Kurt Helin - Dec 2, 2011 at 2:47 PM

      For the record, the Nuggets did like the Nets offer better and the Knicks offer only got accepted when James Dolan stepped in and threw the entire roll playing roster into the deal. That was not the offer the Nuggets shunned for most of the season.

      Which brings us to point #2: You sent Gallo, Wilson Chandler, Lawson etc. to Denver. Who are you shipping to NO? Shumpert and…. the roster is not good now.

      • leearmon - Dec 2, 2011 at 9:15 PM

        If the Nuggets liked New Jersey’s offer better, why didn’t they trade Melo to the Nets? Its not like New Jersey needed a guarantee from Melo he’d re-sign considering they still haven’t gotten that from Deron Williams.

        And my greater point is that you as well as every other NBA writer said prior to Melo being traded to New York that the Knicks didn’t have the pieces to get a trade done. Yet it still happened whether Dolan intervened or not.

        Finally, the Knicks didn’t trade Ty Lawson to Denver, he was drafted by the Nuggets. And a trade to N.O. wouldn’t be centered around Shumpert at all and you know that. It would include Billups and his expiring contract. First team all-rookie selection Landry Fields and his unbelievable contract considering he’s only a second round pick. Shumpert and probably DWTDD.

  7. dblagentzero - Dec 2, 2011 at 12:02 PM

    Isn’t there technically a third option for Paul, albeit risky on his part. Couldn’t he sign a one year deal with the Knicks this offseason then sign a full max deal two years from now? Or would the money come out to be that much less?

    • Kurt Helin - Dec 2, 2011 at 2:45 PM

      Depends on if provision to block that are part of the new CBA. We don’t know those details yet.

  8. willcox5522 - Dec 2, 2011 at 2:00 PM

    nicely said marquisalexander. problem ppl have is Paul is being honest. he is essentially giving a long extended 2 week notice to explore other options.

  9. southbeachtalent - Dec 2, 2011 at 2:36 PM

    I am personally hoping CP3 moves to NY expeditously! Lets revive that Heat Knicks rivalry!

    Soooo where are the posters that suggested more parody? Small market blah, blah, blah…….

    CP3 is on a team owned by the league, I doubt he will move this year. But when he does I wonder if the NBA is going to go all “Dan Gilbert” on us….

  10. beagle11 - Dec 2, 2011 at 3:43 PM

    Kurt, is the Knicks amnesty slot considered an asset? They really have no contract to burn on it. Would they be able to take back a bad contract (with the intention of using the amnesty clause on it ) along with some young talent from a team that would like to kill off more than one contract? Ie GS with bierdens, lee, ellis or ORL with Hedo and Gil arenas.

    • Kurt Helin - Dec 4, 2011 at 12:24 PM

      No. The Amnesty will be set up so that you can only waive a player who was on your roster prior to the start of the lockout. (Some factions wanted you to be able to take on a deal and waive it, and the CBA is not finalized, but I was told it is going to be only guys who were already on the roster, not guys you trade for or sign.)

  11. trueballs - Dec 2, 2011 at 3:48 PM

    Don’t these teams realize how tough it is to build once you have THREE max players? Amare will turn into Jermaine O’Neal sooner than you think (always injured).

    Everyone in Miami took less money and they’re still can’t fill the holes in their roster. Then again…just 2 average Finals performances from LeBron would have put them over the top.

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