NBA Rumors: Executives Reportedly Believe Chris Paul Wants to Play for Knicks

Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistJuly 1, 2012

Chris Paul denied the Los Angeles Clippers' three-year extension offer Saturday night, according to Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times.

Naturally, this leads to heavy speculation concerning the All-Star point guard's future. Frank Isola, New York Daily News' Knicks beat writer, shed some light on the situation at hand.

Lot of NBA execs believe Chris Paul is still hoping to find a way to get to the Knicks...won't happen this summer. Maybe next July

— Frank Isola (@FisolaNYDN) July 1, 2012

This isn't a new idea. Before Paul was sent from the New Orleans Hornets to the Clippers, the Knicks were believed to be his destination of choice. When Paul denied the Clippers' three-year, $60 million extension offer on Saturday, the Knicks became an obvious, if unrealistic, candidate. It's probably safe to assume that Paul rejected the extension in pursuit of a maximum contract after next season, but his interest in the Knicks hasn't ceased for a reason.

As Isola notes, this isn't going to happen this summer. The Knicks owe Tyson Chandler, Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire approximately $57 million in the 2013-14 season.

The Knicks would have to shed one of these two major contracts if they want to bring Paul to New York, and that''s what they should do.

Stoudemire is frequently injured and has lost a lot of the explosiveness that made him an All-Star early in his career. Anthony is a defensive waste and a ball-stopper on offense.

The Knicks' brass would be smart to add Paul, who is arguably the NBA's best point guard. He would thrive playing next to either Stoudemire or Anthony, and he would make the other Knicks exponentially better. 

I think it's pretty obvious the Knicks need a shot in the arm. Anthony and Stoudemire have too much of a "me-first" mentality, and Paul has already proven he can revive a beleaguered franchise. He's a leader, and he knows how to play in front of a major media market. 

This could just be hearsay. Rumors generate false buzz every day, but given Paul's prior interest, you have to believe it's a possibility. 

The Knicks have talented players, but they lack a leader. They need a player who puts winning ahead of everything else, and Paul does exactly that each and every night. He plays hard on both ends of the floor and isn't afraid to do the "dirty work" to grab a victory. That's something that New York's current headliners (Anthony and Stoudemire) haven't come close to proving. 

Paul is in a solid situation with the Clippers, but who can blame him for liking New York? It's the mecca of all media markets, and star players in any sport have always migrated there. 

Isola's NBA executives may be wrong, but this will be a major storyline until Paul signs on the dotted line.