The said union was all anybody could talk about, and it affected Anthony and the NBA for months, as documented on his wife’s reality show, La La’s Full Court Life.
The rumors were of course sparked by the wedding toast that was once considered humorous, in which Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire and Chris Paul expressed their desires to join forces to play with one another at The World’s Most Famous Arena.
With Stoudemire already in town, the Knicks, as everyone knows, gave up the farm (for better or for worse), trading away just about all assets to reel in Anthony to the Big Apple. With two down, and only one (Paul) to go, it appeared as though that wedding toast fantasy would become a reality, at the expense of similar trade rumors, this time, dominating the upcoming lockout-shortened instead.
With the NBA season scheduled to begin on Christmas Day, the question was becoming when (not if) Paul would eventually join the Knicks. But all of that quickly changed on Thursday, a day before free agency begins and players report for training camp.
The reality of the situation is that no matter how burning his desire to play in New York may actually be, the Knicks simply do not have the assets to make the appropriate competitive trade offer, and furthermore, would be unlikely to be able to offer CP3 a maximum contract come this summer, when he is scheduled to hit the free-agency market.
Whether the Knicks came to terms with this harsh reality before or after the rumors surrounding a completed trade (one that was, but never quite will be) to send Paul to the Lakers began to swirl is unknown. What is for certain, however, is how quickly they have seemed to execute their “plan B.”
According to Yahoo! Sports, the Knicks swooped in to push the Warriors aside and dazzle newly crowned NBA champion Tyson Chandler with a four-year deal, worth $58 million, one that he reportedly intends to sign Friday.
Not much else is better than acquiring a four-time All-Star like Paul, but Chandler just might be the better fit for the Knicks. Easily the best defender the team will have had since Patrick Ewing, perhaps the ever-so-intimidating big man will usher in a new era of defensive greatness and intensity along with him on his way to New York.
That is, of course, what Chandler provided the Dallas Mavericks with last season, en route to an NBA title. Chandler’s physical play propelled the Mavs past the Heat in the Finals. His presence even prompted veterans like Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Terry and Jason Kidd to credit him with “changing the culture” in Dallas. Apparently he changed it enough to earn a championship ring.
One would think Chandler’s great season and value to his team would entice the big-spending Mark Cuban and the Mavericks to grant Chandler his payday, but that isn’t the case. In order to preserve cap room for future more substantial free-agent classes (as well as maintain enough space to eventually find a replacement for the aging Nowitzki), Dallas will actually let him walk.
Many can and will argue that the addition of Chandler will make New York a championship contender. And why can’t the argument be made? The team has two explosive scorers in STAT and Melo, and would now have a championship-worthy talent anchoring its defense.
A team with that core is certainly headed for greatness, but what is to come of the rest of its personnel? Looking at the team’s offensive makeup, it’s clear that a player like Anthony dominates the ball in a half-court set, so a pass-first point guard (the kind Coach Mike D’Antoni likes) is not quite necessary, or at the very least, wouldn’t be able to find his place in the offense alongside Anthony.
As it just so happens, the number one causality as a result of the Knicks adding Chandler will have to be floor general Chauncey Billups, whose contract will need to be amnestied and/or traded in order for the Knicks to bring Chandler into the fold.
The guard’s agent, Andy Miller, told Yahoo! Sports that Billups is “irate” with these new developments. The Denver native had been previously uprooted from his home while playing for the Nuggets, only to be traded to the Knicks and live out a hotel. Now it appears the five-time All-Star will be on the move again. The energetic Ronny Turiaf should have to be jettisoned as well to make room for Chandler.
Could the Knicks coach very well be following Billups and Turiaf sometime soon? It certainly appears that way. The team New York is building and/or finally putting in place after so much time is one with much talent and a good balance of skills.
That said, D’Antoni’s run-and-gun offense does not seem to suit this group of players particularly well, especially with a second-rate point guard sure to man the position in New York following these likely moves. Though he still has one year left on his contract, D’Antoni does not appear to be in the team’s future plans.
Will Phil Jackson, no stranger to NBA championships or New York City (winning two titles as a player on the Knicks), return to the bench in 2012?
That question will lead to another discussion for another day, but one thing appears certain: Chris Paul, or no Chris Paul, the Knickerbockers’ championship prospects are shinning bright at this point.
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