Reports continue to surface about All-Star point guard Chris Paul’s desire to play for the New York Knicks, with a plan to add Carmelo Anthony and join Amar’e Stoudemire to form another triple-threat team to rival LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh with the Heat.
The Knicks are very aware of Paul’s interest—according to a report by CBSSports.com, the Knicks top a list of Paul’s preferred destinations—but at this point, they can do nothing about it until the New Orleans Hornets indicate they are ready to make a move. The Associated Press has reported that Paul has requested a trade.
Paul is expected to meet with new Hornets general manager Dell Demps and new coach Monty Williams next week to discuss the future, according to a report by ESPN. Demps and Williams will try to convince Paul to stick it out, at least until his opt-out comes in 2012, but it is believed that Paul already has made up his mind.
"It’s clear he wants out of there," an NBA executive said.
Newsday was the first to report July 11 that Paul told guests at Anthony’s wedding in New York City about his plan to team with Anthony and Stoudemire "and form our own Big Three," multiple witnesses said.
But with two years left on Paul’s contract, the Hornets aren’t under any pressure to do anything right away. They certainly don’t need to just give him away, as the Memphis Grizzlies did with Pau Gasol in 2008. It is more likely that this will carry into the season; it might not be resolved until the February trade deadline or, perhaps, next summer.
The Knicks have been monitoring Paul’s situation in New Orleans for months and Donnie Walsh made a call to former Hornets GM Jeff Bower in May to gauge the chances of making a deal.
The Knicks also are aware that the Spurs’ Tony Parker, who will become a free agent next summer, has expressed an interest in coming to New York.
A source with knowledge of the situation between Anthony and the Nuggets says the team still strongly believes he will take the three-year, $65-million extension he has been offered to stay in Denver. The issue at hand involves the expiration of the current collective-bargaining agreement and the fear that Anthony could wind up losing money if he opts for free agency just as the NBA goes into a lockout. But those close to Anthony say the idea of playing in New York is compelling enough to make him hesitate to lock himself in with Denver.
Lakers sign C Ratliff
Center Theo Ratliff, 37, a 15-year pro, has agreed to a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Ratliff said yesterday he’ll join the two-time defending NBA champions as a backup to 7-foot stars Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum.
He played 49 games last season with San Antonio and Charlotte, averaging 3.6 points and 3.2 rebounds.
Arroyo returns to Heat
Carlos Arroyo, who started 35 games for the Miami Heat last season, has finalized his deal to return to the team.
He averaged 6.1 points and 3.1 assists, plus had a stellar 4.17 assist-to-turnover ratio.
Warriors Lee out 6 weeks
Golden State Warriors forward David Lee learned that his injured right middle finger won’t require surgery but will keep him out six weeks.
"Zero pain. Zero swelling. Zero bruising," Lee said. "I go back at the end of August. Hopefully I will get the splint taken off at that point. That puts (me) back by Sept. 1."