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Chris Paul To New York is Possible, But Not Probable

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Editor’s note: Before you start rolling your eyes, this piece is just outlining the slim possibility that Chris Paul ends up in New York. It’s highly improbable, but, nonetheless, it’s possible. By no means are we advocating for Chris Paul nor predicting he will land up in New York this summer, just reporting that, cap-wise, there remains a very slim possibility. 

As a result of the new CBA and Tyson Chandler signing with the Knicks in December of 2011, proverbial wisdom suggested Chris Paul’s infamous toast at Carmelo Anthony’s wedding was just another Knick pipedream. In an effort to curb super-teams, the new CBA forbids sign & trade transactions for teams whose total team salaries are higher than $74,000,000. This number, known as the luxury tax apron is crucial in determining a franchise’s flexibility and its ability to change its roster.

According to ShamSports.com, this year’s New York Knicks have salary commitments of $79,289,785 which obviously puts them well over the apron. However, the same cannot be said about next year’s team when looking at certain salary cap commitments. According to cap Guru Larry Coon’s CBAFAQ.com, team salary is calculated differently for determining a team’s ability to use its exceptions and make sign & trade transactions. In these calculations, cap holds for draft picks and free agents are excluded. Based upon my interpretation of the FAQ, so are cap holds for open roster spots. As a result, the toast lives on.

Using Sham Sports’ numbers once again, the Knicks next year have $73,831,215 million committed to the following eight players: Anthony, Camby, Chandler, Felton, Kidd, Novak, Shumpert and Stoudemire. Copeland and Prigioni are both fully unguaranteed and James White has a team option that needs to be determined before June 30th. If it’s not picked up, he is a free agent. Additionally, JR Smith has a player option for 2.9 million for next season. Now if Smith picks up that option, this dream is dead unless the Knicks find a way to trade one of their players for no money coming back so that they remain below $74 million.

Smith, however, is unlikely to pick up his player option for a variety of reasons. While it’s debatable if his play has improved, what isn’t debatable is how little he made last year and this year compared to what he was making in Denver.  Additionally, this projects to be a players’ free agent market with more teams having cap space than desirable big money free agents.  Much like Ben Gordon got overpaid by Joe Dumars in 2009; Smith could catch the same fortuitous break this summer.

Given what we know now, the Knicks being at $73.8 million puts them below the apron, making a sign & trade acquisition of Chris Paul not impossible. Again, don’t misinterpret what is being said here. A sign and trade for Chris Paul would be highly improbable. The Clippers would have to take back salary commitments equaling, I believe to be, 80% of Paul’s new outgoing max contract, which would mean, for example, Tyson Chandler and either Iman Shumpert or Ray Felton. Or perhaps the Clippers would want all five of Camby, Felton, Kidd, Novak and Shumpert. If you ran the Clippers, why you would help facilitate the exit of the best player to ever put on your uniform is unlikely. Of course, it’s also unlikely the Clippers would accept Chandler in a trade when they already pay DeAndre Jordan an eight figure annual salary.

Furthermore, there is no definitive mainstream media sourced evidence out there that this is even the Knicks line of thinking. In an effort not to deal in rumors and hearsay, the point here is to just show that the Knicks are still legally able to facilitate a trade for Chris Paul and fulfill the destiny of the toast. It should be noted that given current salary commitments, the same possibility cannot be said for the Brooklyn Nets and their lengthy ill fated pursuit of Dwight Howard. The Nets currently have $85.55 million committed to 2013-2014, including a $1.1 million dollar player option for CJ Watson. For the Nets to move under the luxury tax apron, they would have to shed $11.55 million dollars in salary at the draft or during free agency without taking back a single dollar.

To speak to the impossibility of that compared to the Knicks situation, this means Billy King would need to find a taker for Gerald Wallace and one or two filler pieces (depending on who the player is), or trade Kris Humphries 12 million dollar expiring contract. Either package would have to go to a team willing to absorb them into cap space or a trade exception while not expecting the Nets to take any salary back on in return. In my opinion, there’s a better chance I’m playing in the final group on Sunday with Tiger at Augusta as a 5 handicap than the Nets finding a taker for either one of those packages.

Nevertheless, the NBA rumor mill is about to start churning at full throttle once again. As it occurs, no matter what you read and what sources you doubt or believe, keep in mind that Chris Paul to the Knicks via a sign and trade is currently only improbable, but not impossible.

  • Guest

    I would trade Novak and camby bcuz we barely use them, and get cash considerations to relieve our cap, n also trade felton for the same thing. You can probly get a 1st pick out of him too. Thats money freed up plus also a lot of expiring contracts. We can have Chris Paul convinced. If Lebron can take less money to join the Heat instead of a max contract, so can paul. Backup plan i would go after Jennings.

    • paul smith

      Lebron barely took less money than a max contract. I’m pretty sure CP3 would have to take a lot less to go to NYC since Amare and Melo both have max contracts and Chandlers is really close to a max contract. They should not get Jennings, they don’t need another inefficient scorer.

    • Super_Hero

      contrary to popular belief, Lebron took in more money then what Miami could had offer as a straight up free agent. Cleveland had to power to offer Lebron more money then anyone. So Miami and Cleveland worked out a sign-n-trade so Miami can go over their threshold.

      • metfansc

        Yes LeBron got more money than what Miami could have offered straight up, but not as much as what he could have gotten from Cleveland.

    • jboy61

      backup plan, Knicks should have drafted Jennings and not Jordan Hill… For that matter Knicks could have gotten, Holiday, Ty Lawson, Collison, or even Jeff Teague (notable guards).

  • Panos

    The Big-3 NYC toast will not be fulfilled, not only because the Clips would never trade CP3 for what package the Knicks could offer, but also because it’s likely that Amare is essentially done at this point. How many comebacks can he possibly make?

  • http://twitter.com/_Verts David Vertsberger

    STOP GIVING ME HOPE DAMN YOU.

  • Debbie Downer

    You need to be under the apron after the trade not before the trade. See point 89 of this link explaining the CBA http://www.cbafaq.com/salarycap.htm

  • zach

    this is possibly the dumbest article i’ve ever seen, you might as well talk about how its POSSIBLE for kevin durant to go to the celtics while your at it.

  • Chris

    I stopped reading as soon as you stated that JR Smith’s improvement is debatable. Have you watched a Knicks game this year? You should give it a try!

    • mijoh

      In addition, a bigger and more realistic problem for the NYK is paying for JR next season and beyond. His play is going to command in the neighborhood of $10 mil per season. Unless he is willing to give the NYK a discount, the dude is gone good bye. Even with the mini-Bird exception, I cannot see how the NYK are going to keep Smith, not with all the FA money that will be floating around this off-season.

      • Super_Hero

        I read somewhere that JR being on the Knicks for 3yrs gives them some flexibility in what they can offer him.

        • DG

          I read that they can only give him a contact starting at $5.5 million. There’s no doubt that that would be a good deal but also that some team will be willing to pay more for him. So, it comes down to whether Smith is willing to take that money on a longer term deal & stay in the comfort zone of playing with his good friends and for a coach who both understands and maximizes his talent.

          As for the idiocy of claiming Smith’s improvement is debatable, one should look at the steady improvement of his shot selection, at his very real maturation as a basketball player in general. He’s become quite a good team player and would be hard to replace.

          But sadly I expect that he will not be back next year. I’d love that not to be the case, but someone will offer him big money to start on a less talented team. We can only hope that playing close to home and with a good group of players (& coach) sways him to accept less money.

    • jboy61

      Actually even though he won 6th man, when it comes down to it, his shot choices in the playoffs have been awful especially during games 4 and 5 which were crucial and almost made us lose it all… He reverted to the old JR a number of times on a number of plays. Jacking 3s when up big for no reason instead of slowing the pace or driving to the hole, forgetting to play D or missing a man. watch the games over, even Knicks 60 and you see it

  • Chris

    In addition, the Knicks DO NOT NEED Chris Paul. Why not focus on the fact that this excellent TEAM just won its 50th game of the season? What world are we living in when the Knicks win 50+ games, have a somewhat legitimate shot at a title, and sportswriters are focused on a player the Knicks will NOT add next year? I just find it sad that your job is no longer to report on sports, but to generate discussion by spreading baseless rumors.

    • jboy61

      you’re saying you would rather have Felton over CP3… okay

  • Christopher Ingram

    I’d recommend shutting the F up about rumors and rooting with all your heart for the 50+ win New York Knicks.

  • VeeLanger

    if the major objective this offseason ISN’T to retain smith, then I dunno what the front office could possibly be thinking

  • Metropolitan

    Keep dreaming Knicks fans..LOL

  • http://www.facebook.com/kevin.olenick Kevin Olenick

    What kind of F shit ball information are you writing experts? Stop trying to fray and pressure ny. Lets just get into the playoffs and we’ll see what happens if our performance is great or not.

    • jboy61

      really think the Knicks have a shot against the Heat? Keep dreaming… Time to man up we’re being ousted in 5 or 6 against them

  • http://twitter.com/glennknickfan glennknickfan

    why amnesty billups for chandler in stead o fstout for cp3?

  • http://www.facebook.com/BrooklynsFuhinest Steve Quietstorm Wilson

    CP3 or Stephen Jackson would be a nice pickup… New York we are considered the mecca of basketball we are overdue for a title…