Just days before "The Decision" aired on ESPN, James and Paul had a lengthy phone conversation with Amar'e Stoudemire, who had just signed with the New York Knicks. The trio discussed the possibility of playing together in New York. Stoudemire was already there, James would sign next, and then Paul would demand a trade to the Knicks.People I talked to truly believed that Amar'e felt James to NY was very likely even up to 2 days before the decision. It was closer than the national media ever reported, I'm told.
Some reports have indicated that it was always Paul's plan to join James once his contract was up but when the Hornets didn't pursue free agents and surround him with the talent he wanted, it sped along the process. James would ultimately sign with the Miami Heat, where the supporting cast of stars was a sure thing, but the seed was already planted in Paul's head. Though James was out of the picture, the dialogue continued and that weekend, the point guard jokingly announced at Carmelo Anthony's wedding that a new big three – consisting of himself, Stoudemire, and Anthony – was going to form in New York.
This is why when Paul first created a wish list of trade destinations, New York was atop his list. He wanted to compete with James, Wade, and Bosh and get in on the fun. But because Paul would likely be packaged with Emeka Okafor's bad contract, the dream scenario would be dead as the Knicks wouldn't be able to sign Anthony next summer. Updating his list with more "realistic" options, Paul now sees a trade to Orlando as his ideal situation.
The next step for the Knicks is to figure a way for the team to figure out what the priority is here. Is it waiting to see what Melo does? If he signs then they have to aggressively pursuit Paul i would think, although it sounds like fans are excited by the prospects of developing youth. It depends on what the cost is, and that's still an unknown. From what I've heard a deal at this time is "highly unlikely" as Demps is not going to rush to make a deal in his first few weeks on the job, but all that can change come Monday.
Regardless, the Knicks have some assets and are not rushing into any deals either way.