September 14, 2011
New York Knick owner James Dolan is good friends with, and by all accounts pretty fawning in the presence of, former Knick GM and coach Isiah Thomas. Current Knicks GM Glen Grunwald is a former teammate of Thomas' at Indiana University, and he was hired as GM of the Toronto Raptors over a decade ago when Thomas was in charge back in the late 1990s. So there's your setup.
On top of that, Thomas was given heaps of credit for acting as the driving force that helped put Carmelo Anthony(notes) in a New York Knicks uniform last February. Former Knicks GM Donnie Walsh seemed squeamish about sending every conceivable asset he could to Denver for Anthony's services, and especially hesitant to sign Anthony to the already-archaic contract extension he signed under old collective bargaining agreement rules, but Dolan forged ahead. Most credit Thomas' insistence as the reason for the eventual deal.
So the idea that he's still essentially running the New York Knicks, and looking for a way to broker a deal for Chris Paul(notes) (along with watching from nearby as Knick big man Amar'e Stoudemire(notes) works out at Florida International University, where Thomas coaches NCAA hoops), is more than plausible. And here is the New York Daily News' Frank Isola, laying it all out there:
This is the reason James Dolan continues to lean on Isiah for advice, even though Isiah doesn't have an official position with the Knicks. (If he did, Isiah would be in violation of NBA bylaws for having contact with players during the lockout).
Isiah played a role in the Knicks signing Amar'e two summer's ago and he played a role in the Melo trade. He's now working behind the scenes to help the Knicks land Chris Paul.
I'm not sure that Mike D'Antoni is thrilled that Amar'e is working out with Isiah but by now D'Antoni has already come to grips with Isiah's role with the team. Donnie Walsh is no longer around while one of Isiah's guys, Glen Grunwald, is running the front office. Another one of Isiah's guys, Mike Woodson, was recently named assistant coach.
Paul on the Knicks? It's possibly possible, potentially.
The man has a player option for nearly $18 million for the 2012-13 season, assuming current player salaries aren't rolled back (which I still don't understand how the NBA could legally do that, considering that they signed to these contracts under terms that were collectively bargained in 2005). Even if Paul badly wants to get out of New Orleans, that's a lot of money to leave on the table, especially when he would be making far less in New York under any CBA circumstances.
The Knicks will have some semblance of cap space in 2012, with just $44 million on the books for that summer. But that's for only four players, two of which are combining to make just $3.7 million that year (Toney Douglas(notes) technically has a team option, but the Knicks likely won't dump his small salary with all those roster spots left to fill). Paul could always force a deal to New York if there is a season in 2011-12, with Chauncey Billups'(notes) expiring deal coming back in return, but the Hornets aren't going to want to dump CP3 midseason with potential playoff gate receipts on the line.
Thomas talks a good game, though, and he's worked over Dolan before. And as it is with all things Knicks-y and Dolan-y, the idea of Chris Paul in New York is just believable enough to hang onto.
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