He may have to.
As ESPN's John Hollinger points out in this Insider piece, if Chris Paul waits to test free agency this summer, New Orleans can offer him a contract worth approximately $40 million more than the Knicks over the life of the deal.
Hollinger writes that the best-case salary cap situation for the Knicks gives them $13.5 million to offer Paul in the first year of a free-agent contract. This is assuming they have Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire and a bunch of minimum-salary players on the roster.
In that scenario, according to Hollinger, Paul can earn $57.6 million over the life of the maximum four-year deal allowable in the proposed CBA.
The Hornets, on the other hand, can sign Paul to a five-year deal that starts at a little over $17 million and is worth $98.8 million over the life of the contract.
So, in this scenario, Paul would take a $40 million dollar haircut to play for the Knicks.
Of course, Paul can avoid the $40 million shortfall by forgoing free agency and trying to force a trade to the Knicks (see Anthony, Carmelo). Under the proposed CBA, teams can complete sign and trade deals and extend and trade deals. So the Knicks could swing a trade for Paul and sign him to a maximum extension.
Though he'd still be sacrificing money by not signing an extension with New Orleans (fewer years), it would be far less than a $40 million hit.
But the problem then becomes this: what do the Knicks have to offer in a trade? The answer? Outside of Anthony, Stoudemire and Chauncey Billups' expiring contract, not much. They can combine Billups with a package including Toney Douglas or Landry Fields, among others.
But is that enough to get a deal done?
If not, will Paul wait to test free agency and agree to give up $40 million to play in New York? Check out Hollinger's piece, and let us know what you think.