Chris Paul Trade: The Implications of the New York Knicks (Possibly) Signing Tyson Chandler

SHANGHAI, CHINA - AUGUST 21: (CHINA OUT) American professional basketball players Tyson Chandler (L) of the Dallas Mavericks and Amare Stoudemire (R) of the New York Knicks and Chinese 110 meters hurdler Liu Xiang (C) attend NIKE Promotional Event on August 21, 2011 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images)

Though the Golden State Warriors were at one point assumed to be close to signing free agent center Tyson Chandler, according to various reporters, the New York Knicks are instead on the verge of making the acquisition instead. Chandler, rumored to be linked to Chris Paul's future as well, going to New York would have huge implications on the Hornets' potential trades of Paul.

It's very important to note that Chris Paul going to New York as a free agent in 2012 was the underlying subtext to almost every trade negotiation the Hornets have had thus far. Both the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers have been hesitant to put their best deals (involving Steph Curry and Eric Gordon or Minnesota's unprotected 2012 draft choice) on the table due to their respective fears that Paul would bolt to New York next year. The Boston Celtics are also reportedly scared of this possibility, though that hasn't prevented them from dangling "their guy" Rajon Rondo in every possible trade.

With Chandler reportedly getting close to a 4 year, $58M offer, the most the Knicks could offer Paul in free agency is $6M a year. That's nothing. Even if we assumed that Paul was going to make up some of the initial lost money in endorsements, this would just be ridiculous. This means that the Knicks could now be in the Chris Paul trade hunt (perhaps offering Amar'e Stoudemire). It also means that the Clippers, Celtics, and Warriors could be less wary of Paul bolting in the summer to New York as a free agent.

Another huge developing storyline here? The Clippers agreed to sign Caron Butler to a 3 year, $24M deal today, and if they match a DeAndre Jordan offer, they wouldn't be able to offer Chris Paul a max deal as a free agent next summer.

Basically, the number of teams that Paul likes and that can offer Paul a full max is slowly being whittled down. Dallas can. Boston can. And... we can. Let's not go crazy, but it's something to keep in the very, very back of our collective Hive mind, right next to the fact that Chris Paul wasn't Chris Paul last regular season.

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