Chris Paul Requests Trade to Knicks, Are You Okay With That?
There are two issues this raises. First is the logistics: can the Knicks and the Hornets swing a trade? Second is the moral aspect: Should a player be able to request a trade to a certain team and expect to have that request granted? And should the team acquiesce to that demand?
About the logistics. The Knicks would undoubtedly like to acquire Paul, arguably the best point guard in the NBA, to create a triumvirate with Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire that would rival the star-studded teams in Miami, Boston and Los Angeles.
However, a trade to New York seems unlikely. The Knicks gutted the underbelly of their team last winter, sending Danilo Gallinari, Raymond Felton, Wilson Chandler and Timofey Mozgov to Denver to add Anthony and a few spare parts (including Chauncey Billups). Their best tradable asset is second-year swingman Landry Fields, who had a surprisingly solid rookie season. After Fields it is a whole lot of nothing. Billups has an ugly contract (and if acquired in a trade it couldn't be amnestied). The Knicks could part with first-round pick Iman Shumpert, but he is completely unproven.
However, New Orleans will want to get something for Paul, who will be a free agent after the season and has already said he wouldn't sign an extension (and also said yesterday that he would not sign an extension with Boston if he was traded to the Celtics). So much like the Nuggets with Anthony last season, the Hornets' hands seem tied.
Now the moral question--is this okay?
Well the NBA has been moving towards mega teams for some time now (see Heat, Miami). However, the new collective bargaining agreement was supposed to maintain a competitive balance in the NBA. It is hard to keep a competitive balance if players are allowed to bully their ways onto whatever team they choose.
Should New Orleans give into the demand? Well, it is a business decision. If no other team will take on Paul, because he will refuse to sign an extension elsewhere, and the Hornets know they can't lock him up long-term, then perhaps they should take what they can get. But the Jazz were able to move Deron Williams last year even without him promising an extension to his new club, the New Jersey Nets.
Even if Paul wiggles his way to New York, the financials get tricky and will make him hard to resign. The Knicks have so much money committed to Stoudemire and Anthony that they would not be able to sign Paul to one of the richest contracts in the league--which he could demand.
I have a feeling that this is just the beginning of a situation that will play out over a long, ugly period of time.
What do you think about it? Should New Orleans deal Paul? Is Paul wrong for making a trad request?