Chris Paul has indicated all summer that he wants out of New Orleans. He added more fuel to the fire Thursday by listing the teams for which he most wants to play.
His list featured some of the top teams in the league, but the up-and-coming Knicks appear to be his first choice.
Portland, Orlando, and Dallas are supposedly on Paul's list and each would be superb fits for the New Orleans point guard. All are looking for that one piece that could get them over the hump towards a championship.
But it seems that Paul has always leaned towards New York. He announced at Carmelo Anthony's wedding that he'd love to team up with 'Melo and Amar'e Stoudemire in New York. He wants to form his own top trio to take down the newly formed "Big Three" in Miami.
The deal isn't for sure yet, but it looks like it is very possible. Paul has been adamant with New Orleans management all offseason and New York has shown they are trying to become contenders in the East through the Stoudemire and Raymond Felton signings.
Paul will meet with New Orleans general manager Deil Demps and head coach Monty Williams, according to Chris Broussard. The two will try to show Paul that they have a plan in order for the Hornets' future and that New Orleans is on the right track.
If Paul doesn't agree, he'll demand the trade. So what would New York need to give up to get him?
Raymond Felton would seem to be a perfect piece to send to New Orleans, but the point guard isn't eligible for a trade until December due to his new contract.
The three players New York received in return for David Lee could be part of any potential deal, especially Anthony Randolph. The Hornets would probably want budding forward Danilo Gallinari, too.
Gallinari may be turning into a star, but including him for Paul is worth it. It would instantly propel New York into the top echelon of teams in the Eastern Conference.
As we've seen before in Mike D'Antoni offenses, point guards thrive, especially when they have a top-flight big man like Stoudemire to work with on pick-and-rolls. The duo would be outrageously deadly and nearly impossible for any team to stop.
The only problem is the lack of support after those two. Out of Randolph and Gallinari, whoever is left after the trade will have to step up for the Knicks to compete.
In the Eastern Conference, Orlando and Miami are currently the two most talented teams in the league. There's no argument that they are the top dogs in the conference.
Things get murky after that. Cleveland is out of the picture as a top contender. Boston will be strong, but is aging quickly. Chicago continues to rise with the addition of Carlos Boozer.
With Paul, the Knicks have the talent to secure a spot between those two teams. The Celtics' time is running out, but, as they proved in the playoffs, they don't really act their age.
The Bulls are poised to be a breakout team in 2010. With Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah continuing to progress, plus a beefed up front line with Boozer, the team appears primed for a breakout year in 2010.
Atlanta presents a challenge too, after signing Joe Johnson. The Hawks return most of the squad that made it to the second round of the playoffs last year.
The Knicks are easily a playoff team with Paul, and a second-round visit is realistic. Overcoming Orlando or Miami in a seven-game series is a stretch.
But the Paul move might not even be the best catch. The biggest fish of them all could land in New York in 2011.
Paul's addition would substantially boost the Knicks' chances of getting Carmelo Anthony when he becomes a free agent. If they somehow can get both players, the Heat and Magic would be in serious trouble.
The trio could be scarier than Miami's, and the Knicks could be arguably the top team in the whole league.
With that said, the Knicks still have to go out and bring in Paul. If they do, good times are in store for New York's fans.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!