Will Chris Paul be a Knick sooner rather than later?
GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Carmelo Anthony already knows he'll be able to call Chris Paul a teammate in the future.
"I'll play with him next summer," Anthony said Thursday at MSG Training Center. "In London."
Anthony and Paul expect to be part of Team USA in the 2012 Olympics. But even before that, they could find themselves together in New York, joining Amar'e Stoudemire on what would be yet another version of an NBA super-team.
Paul's agent told his current team, the New Orleans Hornets, that the point guard does not plan to sign a contract extension with the team and would like to be traded to the Knicks, according to a report Thursday by Yahoo! Sports.
Paul, who can opt out of his contract and become a free agent next summer, cannot formally demand a trade, and when he arrived at the Hornets' practice facility Thursday, the first day team facilities were open to NBA players, he downplayed the talk surrounding his future.
"I don't think about it, to tell you the truth," Paul told reporters in New Orleans. "I'm just ready to get out here and compete. This is what I do. I have a very tight circle and they know this whole lockout thing has been driving me nuts. I'm just happy to get out on the court and compete."
Anthony, who was the first Knick to arrive at MSG Training Center, denied that he is doing any recruiting, though he and Paul spent much of the summer together -- some of it in New York -- and have developed a close friendship.
"I'm not involved in that process. No way," Anthony said of Paul's future. "That's a subject, a topic, that I don't want to touch. I don't want to deal with that. Regardless of what I'm saying here today, that will be the biggest topic, the biggest discussion, at the beginning of the season.
"As far as me recruiting Chris Paul, no, not at all. We're very close friends, I'm pretty sure you guys saw him out here in New York a lot . . . but we've never had any kind of conversation about him coming to New York.''
Anthony knows firsthand what awaits Paul if the Hornets don't make a move soon. Anthony endured four months of trade rumors and questions about his future before the Denver Nuggets traded him to the Knicks -- Anthony's destination of choice -- just before the trade deadline last February.
"I've talked to him about that," Anthony said. "The one thing I did tell him was just make the best decision for you and your family. He responded back that he saw what I went through last year and I'm pretty sure there's a certain part of him that don't want to deal with that. That's a lot. I don't think the NBA needs that right now. Especially the Knicks; we just want to focus on what we need to focus on, and that's getting better, getting everybody back in the gym, preparing for our first game on Christmas.''
The Knicks barely have anything to offer the Hornets, aside from the obvious: Chauncey Billups' expiring contract. The Knicks do not own a 2012 first-round pick, and aside from unproven rookie Iman Shumpert and all-rookie selection Landry Fields, do not have much in young talent to offer.
The Knicks expect to have at least $13 million in salary-cap space next summer to sign Paul as a free agent, but it's about $4 million short of the maximum Paul could command on the open market.
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