TORONTO - Chris Paul wants to engineer a trade to the New York Knicks.
The hope was this kind of garbage would go the way of the dodo thanks to a new NBA collective bargaining agreement.
The reality is, when a superstar tires of carrying a franchise on his back and wants to join a fellow all-star or two elsewhere, itís awfully difficult to stop him.
According to Yahoo! Sports, Paulís agent informed the New Orleans Hornets he will not re-sign with the Hornets and wants to be traded to New York.
Paul can leave for nothing via free agency in the off-season and the Hornets would obviously prefer to avoid losing the leagueís best point guard (when healthy, with apologies to Derrick Rose, who also is a spectacular talent).
Citing two league sources, the New Orleans Times Picayune refuted the Yahoo! report on Thursday evening.
Still, even if the words: ďI want to be traded to the Knicks,Ē have not yet come out of Paulís mouth, thatís surely where we are heading.
At Carmelo Anthonyís wedding back in July of 2010, Paul mentioned in a speech about one day forming a New York Knicks dream team with Anthony and Amare Stoudemire.
Of course, Anthony held the Denver Nuggets hostage last season, eventually engineering a move to his hometown Knicks. In the process, New York lost most of its tradable assets. The team canít trade a first-round selection until 2018 and only has Landry Fields ó fourth in rookie-of-the-year voting last season ó to offer.
Thatís not going to get it done. Other teams will make better offers for Paul even if they canít get him to agree to an extension when he arrives.
The irony of all of this is the owners tried hard to take the power of movement away from players in negotiations the past few months. While it is slightly more punishing financially for players to bolt their former clubs than before, it still can be done without much of a setback for the departing stars.
In order to make selling out ó for lack of a better term ó long-time supporters more difficult for players, the league would have had to have given back some of the gains it made in the new CBA, like its bigger share of basketball-related-income.
That didnít happen, and now we have Paul aiming to land in New York, Dwight Howard looking to form his own super-team elsewhere (the early money is on the Lakers) and Deron Williams saying he wonít sign an extension with the New Jersey Nets, either. The Nets, of course, traded for Williams last season when the Utah Jazz became worried that its best player would bail for nothing somewhere down the line).
Williams said Thursday that his unwillingness to sign an extension with the Nets now does not necessarily mean he will leave for sure when his contract is up ó what he didnít add but could have was, ďget me Howard and Iíll be back.Ē
The irony of the Paul situation is that the Hornets are currently owned by the league itself.
Meanwhile, if anybody has a reason to demand a move elsewhere it is two-time MVP Steve Nash.
Nash has given his all to the Phoenix Suns for years ó nearly taking them to a championship appearance ó and was rewarded for his troubles by a cost-cutting owner, who shedded Stoudemire, Shawn Marion, Leandro Barbosa and Joe Johnson among others.
But instead, Nash talks patiently about turning his meagre supporting cast into chicken salad and getting the Suns into the playoffs.
He did admit some hostility towards owner Robert Sarver: ďI think there was a lot of animosity and I think at times it got personal,Ē Nash told Phoenix reporters about Sarver.
But he followed it up by saying mistakes were made but everybody would be able to put them ďbehind and go back to where we were as far as working together and being business partners or teammates.Ē
Thatís not the way Paul wants to play this. He had a dream and appears committed to seeing it out.
Just business as usual in the NBA. Anyone who thought things would be different was kidding himself.