LeBron James finally made a visit to New York, but it was to attend Carmelo Anthony's wedding. Though James spurned the Big Apple for a shot at a dynasty in Miami with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, his move might still benefit the Knicks.
According to multiple sources who attended the wedding, which was held at Cipriani on 42nd St., the common theme among the best wishes to Melo and his new bride, television personality LaLa Vazquez, was that they should consider taking up permanent residence in New York and Carmelo should take the challenge LeBron passed on with the Knicks.
Then, with a less-than-pleased Nuggets owner Stan Kroenke in attendance, Chris Paul included in his address to the happy couple that he wanted to get Carmelo to go with him to join Amar'e Stoudemire with the Knicks "and form our own Big Three."
Stoudemire, who also attended the wedding, loved what he heard. When Stoudemire first arrived in New York the previous Saturday night, he said, "I've talked to Carmelo Anthony that he needs to come out here."
Several NBA players have said Anthony is hesitant to sign the extension with Denver because he is unsure about the franchise's future (George Karl's health, Chauncey Billups' age both play a factor) and is also intrigued by what a move to the Garden stage could do for his career. Anthony was born in Brooklyn and still has a great deal of family here, as does fellow Brooklynite Vazquez, whose own career would benefit from being in New York City.
Anthony has consistently lagged behind fellow Class of '03 stars, LeBron and Wade, in popularity. His jersey, in fact, isn't among the top 10 in sales, according to the NBA.
The concern in not taking the extension is that, with with the uncertainty of the collective bargaining process, which re-opens next summer, Carmelo could wind up losing money. That's why the instinct is to take the money while it's there. But the urge is to push for a trade, perhaps a trade-and-extend deal. At this point, the Nuggets are not considering offers for him, but if Carmelo steps forward and asks for it, then Denver will have to consider dealing him or losing him for nothing next summer.
Anthony shares the same agent as James in Leon Rose. Paul just left his agency, Octagon, to become the most significant client for James' fledgling marketing and branding company, LRMR, which he owns with business partner Maverick Carter. There could be some obvious strategy here.
Paul has an opt-out in 2012 and has told ESPN that if the New Orleans Hornets are not committed to building a championship-caliber team, he would accept a trade.
It would be extremely difficult for the Knicks to pull off both blockbuster deals, especially any time soon. They have very few assets -- almost certainly would have to give up a Danilo Gallinari in one of these scenarios -- and all of their new players can't be moved for 90 days. But it's obvious that Donnie Walsh has kept his payroll under control and the contracts short to allow flexibility for when something like what we're talking about here becomes available.
It may take some time, but if the players want it, you generally believe it will eventually happen.