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With Deron Williams or Chris Paul, Knicks Could Contend with Miami Heat

The trade we’d all been waiting for and held hostage by since the summer — Carmelo Anthony’s departure to New York — finally went through on Monday night. Melo will join fellow All-Star Amare Stoudemire on the Knicks, and he’ll be accompanied by Chauncey Billups, Renaldo Balkman, Shelden Williams and Anthony Carter. Even though the Knicks gave up Danilo Gallinari, Ray Felton, Wilson Chandler, and Timofey Mozgov in the deal, they’re getting back a legitimate superstar who had the Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals two seasons ago. Though critics will say the Knicks now lack depth, I’ll argue that one star like Carmelo Anthony is worth a dozen moderate players like Gallinari, Felton, and Chandler, so I like obviously like the trade for the Knicks.

The Knicks may not click instantly, and they’re not a championship-ready team. Pairing Melo with Amare — two of the biggest offensive ballhogs in the game (and I don’t say that in a negative way because they’re both fantastic players) — will be tricky. However, I’ve always believed the more good players you put together, the better you’ll be, so I like New York’s chances for the future.

The question is can they be a title contending team?

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NBA Trying to Prevent Players from Calling the Shots

I don’t know if Danny Ainge started the whole “super team” era or not by getting Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to join Paul Pierce in Boston three years ago, but it seems like it’s starting to become a problem for Commissioner David Stern and the NBA.  Since the beginning of NBA free agency about a month ago, it has seemed like players have been able to say whatever they want to whoever they want and somehow get away with it.  The league is shifting from one where GMs are responsible for constructing championship teams to a league where players decide they want to team up with their buddies and find a way to make it happen.  That’s how the Miami Heat built their all-star filled roster, right?

According to an ESPN report, the NBA released a memo on Wednesday reminding teams to adhere to the tampering rules set in place by the league.  What was uncharacteristic about the reminder is that they named a particular player and team, something that is rarely ever done in a situation such as this:

The memo, circulated Tuesday by the league office, states that “no team should be having communications with Chris Paul or his agent or representative about a potential trade for Paul that have not been authorized in advance by the New Orleans Hornets.”

The memo, sources said, also threatens to punish any such communications with penalties that range from “suspension of the offending person, prohibition of the offending team from hiring the person being tampered with, forfeiture of draft picks and individual and/or team fines of up to $5 million.”

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Knicks Need to Go Get Chris Paul

When Chris Paul toasted to himself, Carmelo Anthony, and Amare Stoudemire forming their own “Big Three” in New York in the future, the writing was on the wall.  If you’re the New Orleans Hornets’ brass and your franchise player is rumored to be speaking openly about his future plans in another city — despite the fact that he’s two years away from free agency — you must know you’re facing a major problem.  Having listened to the rumors, it’s no surprise to catch word that sources are saying Chris Paul wants out of New Orleans before the start of the season.

It’s obvious the coming together of D-Wade, Chris Bosh, and King James in Miami has gotten CP3 extremely giddy.  He sees the Hornets as a dead-end team and wants to be a part of something like what they’ve assembled in South Beach.  Have you ever played street ball with your friends and been picked by the team who clearly has the best players and thought to yourself, “this is gonna be awesome, these teams are shmuck?”  That’s the way Paul is thinking now that the era of superstars joining forces has hit its stride.

The three teams Cp3 is reportedly interested in being dealt to are the Knicks, Magic, and Lakers.  Kobe and Paul is an intriguing thought, but L.A. is probably set for the time being at point guard after re-signing Derek Fisher and adding Steve Blake.  Kobe pushed hard for Fisher to return and it’d be a slap in the face to one of the classiest Lakers of all time if CP3 came in and began running the show.  I suppose the Magic could dump Jameer Nelson and move forward with a duo of Dwight Howard and Chris Paul, but it seems unlikely.  The most likely scenario: the New York Knicks make a push toward resurrecting their franchise.

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Rumors Sell Tickets, Just Ask the Knicks

It’s not often that speculation can cause a season ticket sell-out, but that’s exactly what’s happened with the New York Knicks. We already told you how Madison Square Garden stock was soaring as a result of LeBron James rumors, and now CNBC has informed us that the Knicks have sold out their season tickets.

New York sold more than 3,400 season tickets before July 8th — the night of “The Decision” — so obviously the King James buzz had a huge impact. The Amare Stoudemire signing was supposedly responsible for the rest of the tickets being sold, but I think it’s safe to say the sailor suit-wearing Stoudemire wouldn’t have caused a sell-out without a little remaining hope that LeBron planned on joining him. What many are forgetting, however, is that the sell-out probably would have occurred one way or another, thanks in large part to Chris Paul and the Carmelo Anthony wedding.

According to the New York Post, Paul toasted to he, Anthony, and Stoudemire forming their “own Big 3″ in the near future. Fans have a tendency to believe anything a player says, so when all is said and done I believe the Knicks would have sold out with or without the belief that LeBron James would venture to the Big Apple. If “super teams” are the future of the NBA, and it’s starting to look like they are, I see no reason these three can’t form the core of the next one. If I were a Knicks fan and heard the news about CP3′s toast, I’d have run out and bought a season ticket anyway.

Source:
Knicks Sell Out Of Season Tickets [CNBC]
Paul toasts Knicks’ future dream team with Stoudemire, Anthony [NY Post]

Chris Paul: The Human Cell Phone

Hornets point guard Chris Paul returned from a 25 game absence on Monday night to help the Hornets beat the Mavericks 115-99. Since Paul was out nearly two months with his knee injury, he wasn’t at full strength against Dallas. CP3 played just 21 minutes, finishing with 11 points and three assists. Paul apparently wanted more action than the coaching staff allowed him to play:

“I asked, ‘Could I play more,’ but they was like, ‘No, no way,”’ Paul said. “It was like I had a cell phone. At halftime, I kept telling the guys I only had 12 minutes left. That’s all I had left on my daytime minutes.”

Maybe Paul’s angling for one of those T-Mobile commercials that air on TNT constantly. Even though CP3 played limited minutes, his presence was crucial for the Hornets who are now 22-17 when he plays and 12-21 without him. New Orleans also experimented with something that will be interesting to monitor the rest of the season: Paul and Darren Collison in the same backcourt. With his value high, the Hornets might be tempted to trade Collison in the offseason. First, they’re going to see how the speedy point guard combo works. So far so good.

Sasha Vujacic Whines Chris Paul Is Picking on Him

So the Lakers lost to the Hornets on Tuesday as David West threw up a career game and Chris Paul was his usual stellar self. In addition to balling it up on the court, CP3 did a bang-up job of trash-talking. Paul apparently was in the head of Laker sharpshooter Sasha Vujacic who got distracted and into foul trouble.

Vujacic’s unique resume … now includes being called by Paul a five-letter word that starts with “B.”

That’s what Vujacic said Paul called him late in New Orleans’ victory over the Lakers on Tuesday night.

For yelling back at Paul – even though Vujacic insisted all he said was: “What did you say?!” – Vujacic got a technical foul from referee Joey Crawford.

Vujacic committed five fouls in 10 and a half minutes of action. Not exactly an exemplary game for “The Machine,” who clearly let CP3 get to him. The worst part of this story might be just what one of the commenters said — if Vujacic is bringing it up to the press, he must really be what Paul is calling him. Hey, nobody said it was all peaches out there on the court and I’ve always said it’s best to let your game do the talking. Maybe Vujacic learned the lesson.

LeBron and Chris Paul Lost a Pickup Game, Playing Together!

LeBron James Chris PaulThis headline just grabbed my attention when I read it over at Skeets’ Ball Don’t Lie. LeBron James and Chris Paul actually lost a pickup game in basketball? Playing together no less? The details from CBS Sports:

The five-man team led by James and Paul lost.

Three times, in fact.

Swear to LeBron, a team featuring Paul and James — plus Cavs rookie Darnell Jackson — won four games and lost three … the group that gave Team James-Paul the most trouble was comprised of Jonny Flynn (Syracuse), Patrick Beverley (Arkansas), Patrick Christopher (California), Terrence Williams (Louisville) and Jarvis Varnado (Mississippi State).

OK, at least the guys they were playing were legit, and we have no idea who the other three teammates LBJ and CP3 were dealing with. But lets be honest here, does it really matter who they’re playing with? Shouldn’t any team featuring The King and CP3 win no matter what? That would be my initial reaction. Crazy to think about them losing, even if the game was meaningless.