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Carmelo Anthony-Amare Stoudemire-Chris Paul team-up: Don't laugh it off

Not many wedding toasts make headlines -- but Chris Paul's salute to Carmelo Anthony and bride Lala Vasquez at their weekend nuptials was definitely an exception. Paul teased a possible big three to counter the LeBron James-Dwyane Wade-Chris Bosh combo in Miami. The idea: Paul, Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony as 2011 New York Knicks.

Couldn't happen, right? Oh, but it could.

James's decision to head to South Beach not only changed the NBA game on the floor. It also altered things off-court. Now, suddenly, it's become trendy to sacrifice salary in exchange for a better chance at a championship -- which is precisely what James, Wade and Bosh did.

Even second-tier players are taking this approach. Note that the Heat's Udonis Haslem turned down what would have been a $10 million raise from the Nuggets in order to stay in Miami.

Yes, Anthony could make a lot more money by staying in Denver. But if James reaps benefits for trading salary dollars for potential rings -- as he can afford to do, given his endorsement riches -- expect Anthony and company to seriously consider jumping on this trend.

After all, New York would offer endorsements aplenty, too -- potentially enough to make leaving Denver a financial wash for Anthony even if he winds up leaving millions on the table.

Sorry, Mr. Paul, but Nuggets fans would rather not drink to that.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts