Go get CP3?
IT'S ABOUT TRANSFORMATION
Of course the Knicks should go after Chris Paul.
If you have championship aspirations and there is a player available who can lift you to a title, it's your responsibility to at least inquire about that player.
Sure, they have a solid point guard in Raymond Felton. But this has nothing to do with Felton.
In short, Paul would transform the Knicks' offense. He could strike a balance between letting Carmelo Anthony operate in isolation and running the pick-and-roll.
He also would be the solid secondary scorer the Knicks currently lack. And he'd turn J.R. Smith into a third option, which is where he'd be at his best.
So, yes, the Knicks absolutely should pursue Paul. But going after him and landing him are two very different things.
First, Paul would need to tell the Clippers that there was no way he'd re-sign there, forcing them to execute a sign-and-trade to the Knicks.
If you take the $82 million we assume the Knicks will be committed to for 2013-14 and add another $18.7 million -- the amount Paul will earn in the first year of his deal -- you get $100.7 million. The Knicks' total salary will need to be under $75.5 million after the Paul trade to make a sign-and-trade work under the current CBA rules. So they'd have to send out $25.2 million to make it work.
But why would the Clippers do that deal? They wouldn't. Unless Paul forced their hand. So it's highly unlikely that Paul ends up with the Knicks. But they should at least give the Clippers a call.
Ian Begley covers the Knicks for ESPNNewYork.com
FOCUS ON THE BIGS
One question: When was the last time an NBA team won a championship with an elite point guard?
It was 23 years ago, when Isiah Thomas led the Pistons to the 1990 title. Consider this. When the Spurs won on the biggest stage, Tony Parker was maybe a borderline top-10 point guard.
While Olympian Chris Paul obviously would help the Knicks with his vocal leadership, defense, transition and half-court playmaking -- and his ability to hit clutch shots -- their focus should be on upgrading their big-man depth.
Because the bulk of the Knicks' scoring comes mostly from outside shooters Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith, and the team uses a perimeter-oriented offense, they need a better inside presence for rebounding and second-chance opportunities. Those two things doomed them in the series against the Pacers.
"If Melo and J.R. are going to win, it's with young, athletic bigs who do the dirty work and protect the rim and finish," a veteran NBA scout said. "Playing with an elite point guard would be problematic because those guys would have to change their games too much."
As far as the Knicks' point-guard depth goes, Raymond Felton plays well on both ends of the floor, and he elevated his game at the right time in the playoffs. In addition, Iman Shumpert will be a bigger and better facilitator next season. Mike Woodson said "the sky is the limit for that kid." The Knicks, however, do need a better backup -- Jason Kidd and Pablo Prigioni are only getting older -- who can help them establish a faster pace, make plays off the dribble and create his own shot.
But the Knicks don't need Paul. GM Glen Grunwald conceded on Tuesday that it's highly unlikely the Knicks will get under the tax line this summer, therefore no sign-and-trades for Paul.
So let's all put the CP3 dreams to bed, and focus on the Knicks' need to add bigs.
Jared Zwerling covers the Knicks for ESPNNewYork.com