Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul Preparing to Create 2011 New York Superteam


August 19, 2010

Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul Preparing to Create 2011 New York Superteam "Wait 'til next year."

The Brooklyn Dodgers seemed to use that expression every October, but it sounds like they'll be saying it a lot in Manhattan this year.

New York Knicks fans spent longer than they can remember anticipating the summer of 2010, eagerly awaiting the day that LeBron James and Chris Bosh would fall into their laps and save their franchise. After all the salary-dumping moves in years prior, and all the losing seasons they endured in the name of winning later, it only seemed fair and just that they'd land the big stars this summer.

If you thought they were just settling for Amare Stoudemire and Raymond Felton, you've got to be crazy.

No, the new strategy is 2011, and the new target superstars are Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul. The Knicks are waiting for next year one last time.

Carmelo has been with the Denver Nuggets for seven years, since they plucked him out of Syracuse with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2003 draft. He's got two years left on a $79 million max contract extension that he signed four summers ago, and he's looking at a paycheck next season of over $17 million and an early termination option that would allow him to leave $18.5 million more on the table in 2011.

Next summer, he'll be 27, and he can leave Denver in pursuit of the biggest contract of his career.

As for CP3, his on-and-off beef with the New Orleans Hornets has been well-publicized all summer. A month ago, the 25-year-old point guard announced he was fed up with losing in The Big Easy and wanted a trade; the following week, he took it back and said he wanted to stick it out with the last-place Hornets.

Paul still has two years left on his contract, at about $32 million total, with a massive player option for 2012-13 as well. But the more the Hornets keep losing, the more likely a messy divorce becomes. It now looks like Paul's staying put for the time being, but next summer will be a whole new chance to blow everything up and start anew.

This is a new era in the NBA, one in which the players have all the power. Carmelo will own the free-agent market next summer; CP3, even while still under contract, will grab the reins and finagle a trade to leave New Orleans. These two guys have the future of the Association in their hands.

And maybe, just maybe, sometime between Wade and Chris Bosh's SportsCenter interview with Michael Wilbon and LeBron's televised Decision on his future, the two guys got a little inspiration.

Next summer, it's all on Carmelo and CP3. It'll be their turn to decide not only the destiny of their own careers, but of the shifting balance of power in the league at large.

And it wouldn't be a bit surprising to see both stars end up in the Big Apple alongside Amare and company.

Amare and CP3 were both guests last month at Anthony's wedding — along with LeBron, Justin Timberlake, Spike Lee and a host of other celebrities — and both were part of a series of toasts at the reception that hinted, some more forcefully than others, at a Knicks superteam in the future. The move would make sense — Carmelo and CP3 have plenty of talent and plenty of years in front of them, and the Knicks have plenty of money to offer. The two stars would fit right in with the glitz and glamour of New York City.

The moves make sense for all parties involved — all, that is, except for the two teams that stand to lose two of the game's biggest stars.

For the Knicks, this next season will be one of buildup and anticipation. For the Nuggets and Hornets, it'll be one last-ditch effort to hold onto two stars that have defined their franchises for the better part of a decade.

One way or another, everyone's waiting 'til next year.

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