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Tyson Chandler Free Agency Rumors: Could Knicks Deal Amare Stoudemire, Release Chauncey Billups?

Tyson Chandler cannot sign a free-agent contract with the New York Knicks until Friday, and there is no guarantee he will — although ESPN is reporting that it is “98 percent sure” Chandler is headed to the Knicks. The fallout, though, has already begun.

The signing of Chandler, a seven-foot center, could mean the Knicks would use forward Amare Stoudemire as bait in an effort to acquire New Orleans Hornets point guard Chris Paul. Both Marc Stein and Chris Broussard of ESPN have reported that as a possibility.

Paul, of course, has previously expressed a desire to be traded to the Knicks — to form a Big Three with Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony. Broussard, though, says Chandler and Paul are friends.

There is, of course, no confirmation from anyone involved with the Knicks that they would consider trading Stoudemire. New York signed Stoudemire to a five-year, $100-million contract as a free agent a year ago. Stoudemire refused to entertain trade questions today.

There is also the matter of what becomes of Billups in this scenario. There are reports that the Knicks would use the amnesty clause from the new CBA to cut ties with Billups to save salary cap space, and that the veteran point guard is “irate” over the possibility.

Stay tuned.