Knicks can’t trade money again until July 1

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NEW YORK — Jim Dolan’s big fat wallet will be of no use to the Knicks until next July.

The Knicks sent $3 million to the Washington Wizards as part of today’s three-team trade to acquire Tyson Chandler, meaning they don’t have any more money to spend in trades this season — and they might not have any draft picks in June.

A new rule in the recently ratified collective bargaining agreement limits the amount of money a team can trade in any given season, and the Knicks have already reached that $3 million limit.

So there will be no opportunity to buy any additional picks on draft night, as New York did last June when they purchased the 45th pick from New Orleans and selected Josh Harrellson, or as they did in 2010 when they paid the Milwaukee Bucks $1 million for the draft rights to Jerome Jordan, the 44th pick.

The Knicks’ 2012 second-round pick was sent to Phoenix in the sign-and-trade deal for Amare Stoudemire, but it is Top 55 protected – meaning the Knicks will keep it if they do not finish with one of the five best records in the NBA.

The first-round pick for 2012 was sent to the Houston Rockets in the Jared Jeffries salary dump two Februarys ago when they acquired Tracy McGrady.

Blockbuster trade: Chris Paul going to the Lakers

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Mark Heisler was the first to tell you this was a possibility nearly two weeks ago. Now, it appears it is happening.

Multiple news outlets are reporting that the Lakers, Rockets and Hornets have agreed to a three-way deal sending Chris Paul to the Lakers.

New Orleans will receive Lamar Odom, Luis Scola, Kevin Martin, Goran Dragic and the New York Knicks’ first-round draft pick in 2012. The Rockets are getting Pau Gasol from the Lakers. There could be other pieces in this deal, too, but we won’t know all of them for certain until 2 p.m. EST, tomorrow when the league officially reopens for business.

Now, it’s a matter of whether Andrew Bynum and a couple of first-round draft picks will be enough to get Dwight Howard from Orlando.

As for the Hornets, I’d say general manager Dell Demps did quite well, given the circumstances.

Heisler Column: Now watch the stars stampede to big markets

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Good news for you little markets …

You’ll be making a lot more money!

Unfortunately, as far as competing with the big teams, they’ll be them and you’ll still be you for a while, or, possibly, forever, whichever comes last.

Whether it was overdue or the owners were due that much, they redressed the economic balance once and for all.

Of course, there was a price — and, as usual, it was their non-economic demands that would have leveled the playing field for the small markets.

To get their $3 billion over 10 years, the owners caved on the system issues that would have stopped superstars from joining hands and heading for glamour markets, settling for restrictions including a more punitive luxury tax — although that won’t start for another two years.

So for at least two seasons, the rich will also make a lot more money, while becoming even more unassailable!

Dwight Howard can bring some clarity today

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Today is the day Superman can reveal his true intentions.

At least that’s the way it should go sometime after 10 a.m. EST when Dwight Howard and Orlando Magic general manager Otis Smith are finally permitted to speak to each other for the first time since June 30.

We are now nine days removed from the tentative settlement to end the NBA lockout, and we’ve already been treated to two different versions of the Chris Paul story — he has made it known to the New Orleans Hornets that he wants to be traded to the New York Knicks, or he hasn’t. You choose who you want to believe.

We already know that Deron Williams is not going to sign an extension with the New Jersey Nets and will become an unrestricted free agent in July, but what we don’t know if he’ll ultimately end up closer to the Bay Area than Brooklyn.

As for Howard, many have long suspected that he aspires to play under brighter lights. And we all realize that the Los Angeles Lakers are the one team out there that has the most fitting goods to replace him by sending Andrew Bynum, Flotsam and Jetsam to Orlando.

We also know there are 35 million reasons why Howard, if he truly desires a trade, would want one sooner rather than later.

What we do not have is a reading from Howard himself — although Howard’s admirers, such as Magic fan Evan Singer, are doing their best to elicit something of substance out of Howard on Twitter.

But the most substantive thing Howard has said when given 140 characters to answer is “Would y’all talk to me about something else(?)”

From Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “One thing is certain: All of the Magic’s next steps — how the team approaches free agency and the strategy it employs with the amnesty clause — revolve around what Howard says.
The perennial All-NBA center has said he hasn’t decided what he’ll do, but those public statements were made months ago. And Magic officials need to know what he’s thinking. In an interview with the Sentinel on Wednesday, Smith said the Magic want to retain Howard for years to come. But Smith also didn’t rule out trading Howard if it’s necessary to do so. And Smith hasn’t changed his stance.”

Robbins wrote those sentences two days before Howard’s former teammate, Matt Barnes, told reporters in Los Angeles that he has spoken with both Howard and Baron Davis (who is a candidate to be waived by the Cleveland Cavaliers through the amnesty provision), and both are angling for a change of address.

Here is a video of that Barnes interview posted by the Kamenetsky brothers of ESPNLosAngeles.com:

Video: Latest lockout news on Chris Paul, Dwight Howard and labor agreement

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