Since Leon Rose was officially announced as the new president of Knicks’ Basketball Operations, the second most discussed high profile CAA acquisition has been Chris Paul.
The acquisition of the ten-fold All Star could finally fulfill a ten-year dream of pairing it in New York with his friend Carmelo Anthony. It would have fulfilled a prophecy made about 10 years ago at Anthony’s wedding. While Melo’s return is speculation at this point, it would be a good feeling in New York to acquire their best guard from the 1980s.
CP3 has had a resurgence with the Oklahoma City Thunder this season. He surprisingly led a young group of Thunder players to the playoffs. At 40-24 years old, the Thunders rank 5th in the Western Conference and can cause disgust in the playoffs. Unlike previous seasons, Paul has only lost one game so far this season and was selected for the first time by the NBA All Star Game from the 2015-16 season.
The first question is whether Thunder has an interest in dealing with the future Hall-of-Famer. Paul was their most valuable player and losing him would significantly damage their chances of contention for the playoffs in the future. At the same time, Paul’s presence exponentially accelerated the development of every young player on the team, including Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. The Thunder may want to fight for the 2020-21 season provided that both Paul and Steven Adams are under contract.
Due to the trades of Russell Westbrook and Paul George, the Thunders pushed forward the capital project. If they feel that Paul isn’t necessary and want to extend Danilo Gallinari, the Knicks can try to create a package to acquire it.
However, due to Paul’s $ 41.3 million salary during the 2020-21 season and the player’s future option of $ 44.2 million in the following season, the Knicks are expected to spend most of their hat space to absorb the contract or find a way to put players together next season to make salaries work.
At the age of 35, Paul’s health always remains in limbo. Committing $ 80 million to Chris Paul in two injury-prone seasons is not very tempting either. In addition, the acquisition of Paul leads the Knicks to hunt for free agents in 2020 which can get more attractive prices. However, his veteran experience will go a long way in hoping that RJ Barrett, Mitchell Robinson, Frank Ntilikina and the rest of the Knicks foundation will become long-term NBA players.