NEWARK, N.J. -- The Big Three in the Big Apple?
That appeared to be New Orleans Hornets point guard Chris Paul’s wish for the future last summer, when he predicted him and his friends -- Denver Nuggets small forward Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire -- would eventually join forces and play for the New York Knicks while making a toast at Anthony’s wedding in New York City.
The Knicks are already a third of the way to making that dream scenario a reality, having signed Stoudemire to a 5-year, $100 million deal in the offseason. And they’ve also begun heavily pursuing Anthony, according to a report last week by ESPN The Magazine’s Chris Broussard.
But on Wednesday night, after missing a wide-open 3-pointer that would’ve given the Hornets a buzzer-beating victory over the New Jersey Nets, Paul was in no mood to rekindle the past.
“I hadn’t thought about that in a long time, that wedding” said Paul, who is represented by the same agent as Anthony, CAA's Leon Rose, after his team fell to the Nets, 103-101 in overtime.
Paul said he and Anthony talk frequently, but have not discussed their futures together.
“I’d just tell him to do whatever his heart tells him to do and keep hooping,” said Paul. “You only control what you can control. But he can’t control none of that stuff.”
Asked about where he thought Anthony would end up after the season, Paul said: “I don’t know. Your guess is as good as mine. You have to talk to the Denver front office. I have way too much stuff to be worry about. I have my own family and my own stuff going on to worry where Melo is headed.”
Rose was in attendance on Wednesday night, but politely declined to comment on the ongoing Melo Drama, saying, “When there’s something to talk about. I’ll talk.”
Anthony, who can become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end if he chooses to opt out of the final year -- worth $18 million -- of his contract with the Nuggets, has been the focal point of trade rumors and speculation about his future ever since the offseason.
After the Nets pulled out of the hunt last month, the Knicks have turned up their pursuit of Anthony.
Broussard reported that a three-team deal that would land Anthony in New York is in the works.
The proposed trade would have the Knicks shipping Wilson Chandler to the Nuggets and Anthony Randolph and Eddy Curry to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for the four-time all-star.
The Nuggets would also receive Corey Brewer and a first-round pick from the Wolves.
The Los Angeles Lakers, according to Broussard, are also interested in Anthony’s services and would be willing to sacrifice young center Andrew Bynum in a straight-up scenario.
If he were to be traded to the Knicks or Lakers, Anthony would have to sign a three-year, $65 million extension, which he appears to be more than willing to do.
Anthony made an interesting comment to the Denver Post on Wednesday, saying he would “have to take a real hard look” at signing that same 3-year, $65 million extension with Denver if he remains with the team after the Feb. 24 trading deadline.
Earlier Wednesday, while talking to reporters after the Hornets’ morning shootaround, Paul said he believed the Knicks would become one of the Eastern Conference’s elite teams if they could land Anthony.
“No question. No question,” Paul, who finished with nine points, 11 assists, five rebounds and seven turnovers, told the New York Daily News on Wednesday morning. “You’re talking about probably the best scorer in the league [Anthony] going to a team with Amare and Raymond Felton.”
Ironically (perhaps deliberately), Felton’s contract runs out in 2012-13, the same time Paul will become a free agent.
However, he was unwilling to discuss what his future holds.
“Right now, I’m trying to figure out how the Hornets are going to win a championship and how we’re going to beat the Orlando Magic [in our next game],” Paul said.