A personal note to general manager Danny Ainge: Please, please, please do not do this.
Anthony was once one of the best players in the NBA. He’d torch teams for 30 points night after night and was electrifying. Today’s Carmelo Anthony is still a solid scorer, but he is also a defensive liability and a black hole on offense. The Celtics would be wise to steer clear of trying to acquire Anthony and the remaining two years (player option included) and $53 million on his contract.
Phil Jackson and the Knicks do not want Anthony on the team next season, that has been made clear. However, Anthony ultimately controls his fate as he holds a no-trade clause in his contract. He is in the midst of a divorce with his former wife LaLa Anthony, who was reportedly a big reason why he was so adamant about staying in New York.
It is plausible to think Anthony would waive his no-trade clause for a move to Boston. The Celtics are a winning team in a major market and that could appeal to Anthony.
Dec 25, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) takes a shot while being defended by Boston Celtics forward Jae Crowder (99) during the first half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports
What Would Anthony Bring To The Celtics?
Anthony ended this past season with averages 22.4 points and 5.9 rebounds per game with a .433/.360/.833 slash line. Through the first two games of the series, the Celtics have not had a scorer to support Isaiah Thomas and that is surely what Ainge would be looking for in acquiring Anthony.
The Syracuse product can still score the basketball and he would look to fit in as a complementary scorer for Thomas, but Anthony’s style of play is not what the Celtics need. His offense is a throwback to the 2000s NBA which relied heavily on isolation scorers. Last season, Anthony’s assist percentage was the second-lowest of his career.
His defensive box plus/minus is negative at -2.2 and his offensive box plus/minus is 1.5, which is not stellar. For reference, Thomas’ offensive box plus/minus sits at 8.7 and even Jae Crowder‘s rating is higher.
Speaking of Crowder, at the trade deadline he was the primary piece considered in the Anthony trade talks. Shipping Crowder would be a major mistake as he has proven to be a valuable 3-and-D commodity and is only making $7 million a year — a bargain in today’s NBA.
One has to think the Celtics would only pursue a trade for Anthony if they strike out on Gordon Hayward this summer in free agency. Hayward is younger, a better player and was a member of Brad Stevens’ team at Butler. To me, an Anthony move screams desperation and it’s one the Celtics shouldn’t make.
This Bulls series has proved the Celtics are not ready to contend for a NBA title and badly need another scorer alongside Thomas. However, that player is not Anthony, who is a lackadaisical defender and isolation scorer on a mammoth contract.