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What the Chris Paul trade teaches us about Carmelo Anthony’s past and future in New York

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Paul Pierce was almost a Knick?

NBA All-Star Game 2015 Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

The Clippers and Rockets stole some of the Knicks’ thunder this afternoon by announcing a blockbuster Chris Paul deal. So what does a deal between two Western Conference clubs have to do with the Knicks? A great deal, as it turns out...mostly involving Paul’s Banana Boat buddy, Carmelo Anthony.

To begin...holy crap, did the Knicks ever dodge a bullet, as Clippers coach/GM Doc Rivers’ incompetence and nepotism somehow overcame outgoing Knicks GM Phil Jackson’s incompetence and pettiness. For months we heard about a possible Melo-to-the-Clippers trade. Apparently Phil did offer his prodigal star to Los Angeles, and in a deal worse than even the most pessimistic fan could have imagines. And Doc turned it down.

Per ESPN’s Michael Eaves:

“But what really solidified Paul's dissatisfaction with Doc was a proposed trade involving Carmelo Anthony last season. New York offered Carmelo and Sasha Vujacic to the Clippers in exchange for Jamal Crawford, Paul Pierce and Austin Rivers, a deal to which Rivers ultimately said no. That event led Paul to feel that keeping his son on the roster was more important to Doc than improving the team. So, ultimately, Paul lost both trust and faith in Doc. As one league executive put it, ‘Chris despises Doc.’”

I don’t blame you, CP3! Personally, I now love Doc for sparing the Knicks the nearly $29 million remaining on Crawford’s contract, plus two of the most loathed punks in all of basketball: Austin Rivers and Paul Pierce. Seriously, Phil...you tried to get Paul freakin’ Pierce on the Knicks? That’s unforgivable.

But that’s all in the past, right? Maybe not. Melo could be on his way to Houston to team with Paul, if Tim MacMahon’s source is to be believed.

Stephen A. Smith mentioned something about Melo still getting bought out by the Knicks, but screw him. Phil just got fired for pushing the Melo buyout.

And here’s where things get really interesting: Paul opted into the final year of his contract with Houston, which means he, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James will all become free agents in 2018. Melo has his own opt-out that summer. Will he finally join his friends wherever? If so, the Knicks have no real reason to buy him out of two years worth of contract.

Ah, the intricate dance of free agency...