Carmelo Anthony’s wedding featured one of the most famous toasts in NBA history. Then-New Orleans Hornets point guard Chris Paul was in attendance, and told the crowd of a possible Big Three in New York featuring him, Anthony (who’d just been traded to the Knicks) and Amar’e Stoudemire, who’d signed with the Knicks in 2010. Obviously, that’s not how it played out. Chris Paul was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers and followed that up with stints with the Rockets and Thunder. But now he’s back on the trade market, and the long-prophesized partnership with Carmelo appears to be within reach. It could even be in New York.
The Knicks have been linked to Paul for months, and according to Marc Berman of the New York Post, Anthony would ‘likely want to follow’ Paul back to New York if such a trade is completed. The Knicks are now run by Leon Rose, former agent to both Anthony and Paul. Reports have linked Anthony back to New York independently from Paul, but after their season ended, Anthony revealed that he would like to return to the Portland Trail Blazers.
“I pray that it can be Portland,” Anthony told reporters after losing Game 5 of Portland’s first-round series against the Lakers. “Honestly, I think I’ve found a home in Portland. I got comfortable with the organization, I got comfortable with the guys on the team, they got comfortable with me, and at this point in my career I do think that that’s the best fit for me, the best situation, especially having this experience now and kind of just getting my feet wet and just coming in and being who I am and staying true to myself. I really hope that it can be Portland at the end of the day where we give ourselves a chance to keep this team together, get guys healthy, and get another run at it.”
If something is likely to pry him out of Portland, though, it would be Paul and New York. The two have been close friends for most of their careers and even vacation together. They spent a brief period together with the Rockets, though Anthony’s struggles led to him being benched and then traded. The rebuilding Knicks wouldn’t be as discerning about Anthony’s play. Their goal right now is to change the organization’s image. Mending fences with Anthony, who left on bad terms, would be a start. Paul had a strong impact on Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in Oklahoma City, and could theoretically help the Knicks in the same way.
The Thunder reportedly want Kevin Knox back from the Knicks in any Paul deal, but considering his struggles over the past two seasons, that’s hardly an exorbitant price. The greater question is how much the Knicks want to invest in veterans as opposed to younger talent. Paul has two years left on a max contract, and every possession he and Anthony use would not be available for the development of players like RJ Barrett and their No. 8 overall pick in November. Paul and Anthony finally fulfilling the decade-old wedding toast would be a great story, but it wouldn’t necessarily make sense for the Knicks as currently constructed.