A year ago, the ‘Melo Drama hung over the NBA like a dark cloud.
Now, the Paul sweepstakes –along with the Dwight Howard affair — threatens to dominate the NBA headlines for the upcoming season.
Yet while Anthony was only involved in one successful trade, to the Knicks, Paul has already been involved in a failed trade to the Lakers and another stalled trade to the Lakers’ poor stepchild, the Clippers.
The Clippers have reportedly offered center Chris Kaman, backup guard Eric Bledsoe, forward Al-Farouq Aminu and their No.1 pick in the 2012 NBA draft that’s unprotected from the Minnesota Timberwolves – which could turn out to be Kentucky freshman big man Anthony Davis as the No. 1 overall pick.
Yet the deal has stalled because the Clippers have refused to offer anything more in exchange for Paul.
Anthony hyper-extended his left knee at practice Monday after stepping on Iman Shumpert’s foot, but later pronounced himself “good.” He’s listed as day-to-day.
As far as the Paul situation, he said: ”As far as the rumors and stuff and the amount of attention that’s surrounding it, I think it’s the same [as my situation]. But as far as how it’s going about, I don’t think it’s the same situation.”
He added: “That’s an unfortunate situation to be in for Chris Paul. One day you’re going to the Lakers, one day you’re not. One day you’re going to the Clippers, one day you’re not. You really don’t know what to take from that situation so it’s a sad situation.
“My advice to him is just stay focused, stay professional and deal with it.”
Paul had initially hoped to join Anthony, his good friend, and Amar’e Stoudemire to form a Knicks Big Three, but, realizing they couldn’t create cap space for Paul to get a max contract in 2012, the Knicks landed Tyson Chandler in a three-team sign-and-trade, giving him $56 million for four years.
“We just felt that the likelihood of us being able to generate the amount of room necessary to sign a max contract was not there,” Knicks interim GM Glen Grunwald said Monday.
As far as Grunwald himself, since taking over July 1 on an interim basis for the departed Donnie Walsh, he has managed to pull off something few even considered possible a week ago — landing the 7-foot-1 Chandler, an freshly-minted NBA champion who can infuse the Knicks’ with valuable defense and experience.
“I feel very fortunate because there was an excellent player who wanted to come to New York and play for the Knicks and fortunately that we have a situation here with an owner that is committed to winning and willing to invest in winning, that’s willing to step up and provide us certain resources necessary to get a transaction like that done,” said Grunwald, 53. “It’s an exciting time for us and hopefully it will result in a good outcome on the court.”
Grunwald also announced that the Knicks were finalizing a buyout of the Slovenian contract of 7-foot center Jerome Jordan, who was stashed last year in Serbia and could potentially back up Chandler.
“We have an agreement in principle,” he said. “We just have to get the buyout from his Slovenian team and then we need to get a work visa for him. So he should be in camp in the next couple of days, assuming all goes well.”
Grunwald further said the Knicks were interested in Jamal Crawford, though a deal looks increasingly unlikely because the Knicks can only afford the $2.5 million “room” exception.
“We’d certainly love to get Jamal back here, but we’ll see where that goes,” he said. “That’s a situation that’s still developing.”
Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni said he’s satisfied with Toney Douglas and Mike Bibby at the point, but suggested that much of the offense could be run through Anthony at the point forward position.
Grunwald was asked about the interim tag on his job title and whether he’d like it removed so that he can be given the freedom to run the team on a full-time basis.
He took the high road.
“I love working in the N.B.A. and working for the Knicks,” he said. “So this is the job that Mr. Dolan’s asked me to do for now. And if he asked me to do something different in the future, I’m sure I’ll do whatever I can, as best I can, to help move the organization forward.
“So whatever role they’re asking me, I’m happy to perform.”
So far, so good for Knicks fans.
Adam Zagoria of Zags Blog covers the future stars of the NBA for SheridanHoops.com. His column usually appears every Saturday, but the NBA ruled the site yesterday. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamZagoria.