Blog Entry

CP3 drama and other free-agent buzz

Posted on: December 1, 2011 8:29 pm
And it begins.

Get ready for a replay of the Carmelo Anthony saga, with Chris Paul playing the role of protagonist and the big, bad Knicks once again in the villain role.

Cue the small market-big market theme song.

Seen this movie before. It's called "Gone With the Wind."

With Yahoo Sports reporting Thursday that Paul's representatives have informed the Hornets that he will not sign an extension with the team and that he wants to be traded to the Knicks, and with the Hornets immediately shifting into damage-control mode, we're right back where we were with Melo and the Nuggets. There are several key differences, however, that should be noted.

First, as pointed out earlier this week, the new rules take some leverage away from Paul in his bid to get to New York. Oddly enough, the rules that emerged from a lockout that was supposed to be about keeping small-market stars from fleeing to big markets also has taken a measure of protection away from the home team.

But Paul has done something important here that Anthony and his camp -- the same folks from Creative Artists Agency who orchestrated the union of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami last July -- didn't do. Paul has gotten started with his exit strategy much earlier.

Actually, it was last July when Paul's reps first informed Hornets brass that he wasn't sticking around and wanted to be traded to the Knicks, Lakers or Magic. At the time, the world was focused on LeBron and then the Knicks turned their focus to Anthony, who waited until the free-agent dust settled before clamoring to be dealt to the Knicks to team up with Amar'e Stoudemire.

Anthony got his way -- got his cake and was able to eat it, too. He did this under the old rules, which allowed him to get the same max extension (three years, $65 million) that he could've signed had he stayed in Denver. That avenue is no longer available to Paul. An extend-and-trade deal would only get him one year added to the two years he has left, a non-starter for a superstar of his caliber.

An extension with New Orleans would only net Paul two more years for about $39.6 million. This is nothing compared to what Anthony got, and not even close to the extensions that James, Wade and Bosh turned down before joining forces with the Heat. They did so by getting max length and dollars via sign-and-trades, and that option isn't open to Paul, either -- at least not in the same lucrative way. If he opts out and exits New Orleans via a sign-and-trade, he'd only get a four-year, $74 million deal -- compared to the five-year, $100 million the Hornets could offer. Factor in the notion that the Knicks, as of now, don't have close to the assets necessary to pull off such a deal, and it becomes even less likely.

Which brings us back to the original point: Even though it's December, it's technically July on the NBA calendar. Paul's efforts to determine his own destiny are starting much earlier than Melo's did for a couple of key reasons: 1) With Nene and Tyson Chandler the only potential max free agents in this class, there's no one to steal the attention the way LeBron, Wade and Bosh did las July; and 2) the new rules dictate it.

The Hornets' best chance of not getting stuck losing Paul for nothing is to trade him by mid-January or so. This way, New Orleans gets prime assets from a team where Paul is assured of re-signing with, and Paul only has to wait until July to opt out and get his five-year, $100 million deal from his new team once a newly imposed six-month window expires for players to sign new deals after getting traded.

The clock is ticking on Paul's time in a Hornets uniform, and this will unfold much more quickly than the Melo saga did -- in part, because of the new rules supposedly designed to keep star players from changing teams. Go figure.

There's one key difference so far between Paul's approach and Anthony's. Paul and his representatives have yet to say the words that would turn this saga into the kind of circus that the Melo drama became -- the words that Anthony made abundantly clear last season. What are those words? "I will only sign with the Knicks."

If Paul says those words, the tables turn and the game changes. And the Hornets might be inclined to call Paul's bluff and see if playing in New York with Stoudemire and Anthony is worth about $45 million to him -- the difference between what the Hornets could offer him next July and what the Knicks could offer, given that they currently only have about $13.5 million in projected room as the starting point on a four-year deal.

One thing is clear: We've seen this soap opera before. Getchya popcorn.


With the National Basketball Players Association reformed as a union Thursday with more than 300 authorization votes from players, the union and league can now begin hammering out the fine print of the agreement and negotiate the so-called B-list issues -- such as drug testing, the age limit, etc. A ratification vote is expected by next week, allowing training camps and free agency to open as projected on Dec. 9.

But -- and you knew there would be a but -- there could be a problem for the dozens of players who signed overseas contracts during the lockout. FIBA rules do not allow the paperwork excusing such players from their obligations to be submitted until the CBA is ratified. Once that happens, teams and agents say they're concerned that there could be up to a 48-hour delay in getting the paperwork processed and freeing the players to return to the States.

Thus, there is concern that such players -- the biggest star being the Nets' Deron Williams -- won't make it back in time for the start of camp. League officials are looking into the matter, but here's one way to look at it: If this is the worst fallout from the five-month lockout as far as basketball operations go, so be it.


Sources say there's mutual interest between the Bulls and free-agent forward Caron Butler. But Chicago hasn't ruled out also making a push for restricted free agent Marco Belinelli, whose defensive liabilities wouldn't thrill coach Tom Thibodeau but whose shooting prowess could help open the floor for Derrick Rose. ... Sources confirmed this tidbit passed along by's Ben Golliver: Hawks guard Kirk Hinrich had shoulder surgery a few weeks ago and is expected to be out until late December or early January.

Since: Oct 15, 2007
Posted on: December 3, 2011 9:05 am

CP3 drama and other free-agent buzz

So I see that really nothing was learned from the lockout when a diva player like Chris Paul is trying to dictate his new destination. The NBA continues its slow decline.

Since: Dec 5, 2007
Posted on: December 3, 2011 7:54 am

CP3 drama and other free-agent buzz

so the CBA didn't really do anything.

Since: May 29, 2010
Posted on: December 3, 2011 7:23 am

CP3 drama and other free-agent buzz

Oh.  I almost forgot his matador defense.

Since: May 29, 2010
Posted on: December 3, 2011 7:21 am

CP3 drama and other free-agent buzz

Yeah.  Carmelo was a real shot in the arm for the Knicks when he arrived last year.  What'd they go?  .500 with him?  Yeah.  Career 45% field goal percent.  What a marksman!  Career 6 rebounds per game.  What a beast on the boards!  Give the worst guy on the Knicks bench 30 shots a game and he'll average 20 points a game.  Stoudemire and Paul will be real effective when Carmelo has the ball in his hands every minute of the game.  What a fraud!

Since: Oct 16, 2011
Posted on: December 3, 2011 5:59 am

CP3 drama and other free-agent buzz

I have never understood why people call New York the "Mecca" of basketball, the knicks havnt won a championship since 1973 and havnt been relevant in over a decade. New york is a huge market i dont understand how thats even possible to not be relevant, yeah Isiah Thomas screwed them up but he hasnt been around as long as 1973. The lakers are always relevant somehow being in half of all NBA finals, maybe its the weather i live at the beach about 45 mins away from LA and the weather is way better then New York, ive been to new york twice during summer and it was way to hot and humid for me and apparently it snows during the winter there. If new york always had players like paul melo and stoudemire then i would get the Mecca of basketball reference. Having a new big 3 would make for some good tv but at this rate the nba is only going to need 4 teams, The west all stars should be split into 2 teams and fill the rest of the roster with borderline all stars and the same with the East Allstars cause having all these stars together on the same team is completly ruining competitive balance. Chauncey Billups averaged 3.1 rebounds  5.5 assists 0.9 steals and 17.5 points per game with the knicks last season,  Chris Paul averaged 4.1 rebounds, 9.8 assists, 2.4 steals and 15.9 points per game with the hornets last season. Theres not that much of a difference here, Billups and Stoudemire were both injured in the playoffs and i think playing together this season will really help them gel and they could make a deep playoff run if they pick up a few right fit free agents, Chauncey is still an amazing point guard people seem to forget that, new york already has a big three if you go by me.

Since: Nov 13, 2007
Posted on: December 2, 2011 11:19 pm

CP3 drama and other free-agent buzz

Chris Paul dictating where he wants to go. The NBA is right back to where it started. Failure of a league and dropping in the rankings in the world of sports. Probably down to 6th place behind NFL, NCAAF, MLB, NCAABB, NHL.

Why couldn't they NOT come back.....

Since: Dec 20, 2008
Posted on: December 2, 2011 4:38 pm

CP3 drama and other free-agent buzz

The Knicks will make sure this guy becomes a Knick, but it won't happen before the season starts, maybe at the new trade deadline. There's no way Dolan is gonna pass up the ratings buzz that would be created from a "big 3" in NY.  Knicks will find a way to get Paul. Only way they change their mind on that is if D Will becomes interested in the Knicks.

Since: May 17, 2008
Posted on: December 2, 2011 4:27 pm

CP3 drama and other free-agent buzz

Both Carmelo Anthony and Deron Williams destroyed their future teams by insisting on trades now when they easily could have waited three months for the season to end.  In the Knicks case, this would have resulted in a championship caliber team.  In the Nets case, they gave up two first round picks, one of which would have been the third pick overall.
So enough with these primadonnas..
Problem with your point is Deron Williams did not ask to be traded to the Nets -- that decision was the Nets, despite knowing that there was no guarantee Deron Williams would sign a contract extension with them after this year.  Dumb trade in my opinion (unless D Williams has a change of heart and decides to stay with the Nets) but Williams had nothing to do with it.

Since: May 17, 2008
Posted on: December 2, 2011 4:24 pm

CP3 drama and other free-agent buzz

@mzracing76 -- do you realize how unworkable your post is?  ALL of those items would have to be part of the CBA which is already negotiated.  If the owners had pressed for half of what you suggest we definately would have lost this and probably next season as the players would not agree to most of it, but lets take a closer look:

   1) Flexible Hard Cap (an oxymoron--its either hard or flexible, not both).  First a "cap" cannot be recommended, it must be "mandated" or its not a cap.  Second, the idea of a hard or even semi-hard cap was one of the major reasons behind the just resolved lockout.  For at least the next 6 years of the CBA the idea of a hard cap is a no-go.

  2) "Mini-Salary Cap" -- I assume you mean a minimum salary "floor" per team?  Guess what, they already have that, set well above the $35million you propose (I beleive it is currently 85% of the $58million salary cap or $49.3 million and set to go up to 90% or more of the cap amount

  3)  The NBA already has revenue sharing AND a luxury tax.  The luxury tax kicks in at $70million and was a $1 for $1 tax, 100% for amounts over $70million, and now INCREASING depending on how far over the cap and how many times over the cap in the last 3 or 5 years.  For example -- the Lakers payroll was approximately $90million so they paid a luxury tax (in addition to revenue sharing) of $20million.  Under your proposal the Lakers would have only paid 2% of $90million or $1.80million, a DECREASE to small market revenue sharing of $17.2million just from LAL.  The big market teams would love that but it would do nothing to help competitive balance for small market teams.

  4) Crazy -- first no player can truly "force" a trade right now.  They have contracts--its up to the team to trade them or not so who cares if you have a rule that says "no player may ask, or demand a trade" for 6 years.  Now, if you say you CAN"T trade a player for 6 years, how does that help the small market team that may WANT to trade a young player for draft picks or other players?  As for rookie minimum and max deals -- well there already is a rookie wage scale although for more than what you are suggesting.  Trying to get players to agree to only minimum salary for 3 years and then only 35% of the league average (currently about $5.4 million, so about $1.89mill MAX ) for another 3 years will never fly (not to mention, if you limit the contracts the way you suggest that $1.89 mil figure would be even lower as if you make rookie contract smaller, as well as the year 4-5-6 contracts, then the league average comes down as well, so the 35% is lower).

  5)  There already is a minimum salary.  It is, I believe, LOWER than the $750,000 you suggest.  As for the max, I think Kobe is the only player above $25million currently.  With the new rules limiting the number of years and amount of raises players can receive, its not likely you're going to see many future players getting above $25mill/year so this would have little effect at all, if any.

  6) This I agree with.  Worst record should have 1st pick, not just the best chance to get first pick, in the draft.

Since: Feb 9, 2007
Posted on: December 2, 2011 4:00 pm

CP3 drama and other free-agent buzz

Since the new CBA isn't signed yet, I hope that all of the small market owners pull out of the agreemt ASAP.

The NBA is a joke.  If things keep going the way they are, there will be 4-5 teams vying for the title every year, and the rest will be also-rans. 

If this happens, you will VERY QUICKLY see all of the corporate dollars being pulled out of all of the small market teams, as they wont' be filling their arenas.

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