5 trade destinations for Carmelo Anthony

New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony wants to stay in New York. Should he be coerced into waiving his no-trade clause, where could he wind up?

The New York Knicks are a total mess in mid-January. Through 42 games, the 2016-17 Knicks are 18-24 and in 11th place in the Eastern Conference. They have lost two in a row, eight of their last 10 and are a free agency chemistry experiment gone wrong.

The Derrick Rose trade with the Chicago Bulls is not working out to say the least. Center Joakim Noah is rapidly decaying in the low post. Star power forward Kristaps Porzingis is dealing with Achilles concerns. And team president Phil Jackson continues to undermine head coach Jeff Hornacek with a relentless push for more Triangle.

While he wants to remain with the Knicks, small forward Carmelo Anthony may be forced to waiving his no-trade clause by Jackson before the 2017 NBA trade deadline. If Anthony does agree to a move, here are five places that the three-time Olympic Gold medalist could land this February in a blockbuster deal.

5

Denver Nuggets

West, Northwest

Talk about buyer’s remorse to the extreme. The Denver Nuggets are the same team that Anthony forced his way out of in a 2011 trade. Anthony could have signed with the Knicks in 2011 NBA free agency but wanted to get out of Dodge as soon as possible.

Is there bitterness between the Knicks and Nuggets from the 2011 Anthony trade? Probably, but they could really help each other if they orchestrate a trade to send Anthony back to the Rocky Mountains.

No team in the NBA has a wider array of tradeable assets than Tim Connelly’s Nuggets. They can offer anything from first-round picks to high-upside youngsters to  a healthy return of starters to rotational veterans.

Denver has lacked relevance since the Anthony trade of 2011. Small forward Danilo Gallinari has been solid when healthy, but he rarely is. Getting Anthony back in Denver could offer intrigue to this forgotten Western Conference team. His scoring ability would thrive in Michael Malone’s half-court offense. Anthony might be the veteran piece to get Denver back into the Western Conference Playoffs.

Of course, this is a massive long shot of a trade scenario. Some scars may never heal. If the organizations want to put pride aside, there could be a mutually beneficial trade involving Anthony here. Not all of Anthony’s basketball memories in Denver were bad ones, right?

Dec 30, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Detroit Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy coaches against the Atlanta Hawks in the fourth quarter at Philips Arena. The Hawks won 105-98. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 30, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Detroit Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy coaches against the Atlanta Hawks in the fourth quarter at Philips Arena. The Hawks won 105-98. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

4

Detroit Pistons

East, Central

Wouldn’t it be ironic to see Anthony on the team that should have drafted him No. 2 overall in the 2003 NBA Draft? The Detroit Pistons opted to go with Darko Milicic over Anthony, who would land in Denver with the very next selection.

Detroit is the other would-be contending team in the Eastern Conference that has had a miserable last couple of weeks. The Pistons are quickly becoming the fifth-best team in the tough Central Division and have not seen All-Star center Andre Drummond take the next step in his progression as a franchise centerpiece.

A deal involving Anthony to the Pistons really hinges on what Pistons head coach and president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy want to do. He’s too good of a coach to have a middling Eastern Conference roster. Over the years, he has shown a proclivity to overspending on players he wants. Van Gundy also likes to zag when other executives zig following the NBA’s latest trends.

New York would get Drummond and probably small forward Tobias Harris in a deal for Anthony. Shooting guard Courtney Lee or a package of rotational players and picks would have to go Detroit’s way.

This is a move New York would love to make. Harris, Porzingis, and Drummond in the frontcourt could be incredible. The problem is that Van Gundy may not covet Anthony, get a return offer he would like, or even think that Anthony could play alongside point guard Reggie Jackson.

Memphis Grizzlies guard Mike Conley (11) is in today's FanDuel daily picks. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Memphis Grizzlies guard Mike Conley (11) is in today’s FanDuel daily picks. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

3

Memphis Grizzlies

West, Southwest

One place that Anthony might actually want to go to is the Memphis Grizzlies. He would get to play for David Fizdale, the former Miami Heat assistant who helped Anthony’s buds LeBron James and Dwyane Wade win titles in South Beach.

Memphis is in a weird spot as a franchise. The Grizzlies have a cultural phenomenon known as the Grit ‘n’ Grind era of Memphis basketball: a slow-paced, half court, ultra-phyiscal brand of hoops. Now that Fizdale has brought the three-ball to the Mississippi Delta, this is a team Anthony could fit with easily.

He’d play the stretch four and could work alongside Mike Conley, Chandler Parsons and Mark Gasol in the starting lineup. Memphis is perpetually in win-now mode, and adding Anthony could get this team further than the first round of the 2017 Western Conference Playoffs.

The Grizzlies would have to give up Zach Randolph at minimum, maybe Tony Allen or rookie Wade Baldwin IV. New York has done stranger things, so seeing Randolph back at Madison Square Garden wouldn’t be all that shocking.

Anthony would get to co-create on offense with Conley as the other primary Memphis ball handler. If he’s up for playing defense for a small market team, this could be a great landing spot for Anthony. However, when has he ever wanted to do either of those things?

Isaiah Thomas (4) is in today's FanDuel daily picks. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Isaiah Thomas (4) is in today’s FanDuel daily picks. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

2

Boston Celtics

East, Atlantic

Sometime one day in the near future, Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge just might cash in his stockpile of intriguing assets and get the superstar he’s been talking about for a half decade. Boston has two great players in point guard Isaiah Thomas and center Al Horford. Does trading for Anthony get Boston over the top?

A starting lineup in Boston with Thomas at the one, Anthony at the three and Horford at the five might become the biggest threat to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference. It would be a Big Three that could challenge Cleveland’s Big Three of James, point guard Kyrie Irving and power forward Kevin Love.

Obviously, Boston would have to give up small forward Jae Crowder and either wing Avery Bradley or Marcus Smart at minimum to get the Knicks to part ways with Anthony. Add in that these are Atlantic Division rivals and this potential trade could get more complicated.

One has to believe that whatever Atlantic Division rival between Boston and the Toronto Raptors land that third All-Star level player will emerge as a lock to make it to the Eastern Conference Finals. Boston and Toronto aren’t likely going to take down Cleveland, but these two teams have to try.

Anthony to the Celtics has upside. He could re-sign with the team and might benefit from playing under a great head coach in Brad Stevens. However, can Anthony and Thomas share the basketball? Will rebounding plummet with Anthony and undersized Horford in the frontcourt?

That being said, if Ainge wants a superstar this NBA trade deadline, Anthony has to make his short list.

Chris Paul

Dec 14, 2016; Orlando, FL, USA; LA Clippers guard Chris Paul (3) against the Orlando Magic during the first quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

1

Los Angeles Clippers

West, Pacific

Though they are rolling in mid-January, we all kind of know that the Los Angeles Clippers have a definite ceiling as a basketball team. This team is likely bound for another Western Conference Semifinals exit, as they won’t be able to beat the rival Golden State Warriors in the No. 1 vs. No. 4 second-round series.

That being said, Los Angeles has been a few lucky breaks away from being an NBA title contender for the last four years. The Clippers decided to get the band back together for one last shot at a title with this core in 2017. However, could head coach and president of basketball operations Doc Rivers be willing to break it up prematurely?

Los Angeles’ Achilles’ heel has been small forward during the entire Rivers tenure in Hollywood. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute is serviceable, but that position has ruined the Clippers annually come playoff time. Would Rivers trade for Anthony … and what would be the price?

He very well could, as Anthony and Clippers point guard Chris Paul are very close. Going to the Knicks would have to be Blake Griffin. Not sure that the Clippers would be willing to trade away the greatest draft pick in franchise history.

Still, the Griffin/Paul Clippers teams have never been as good as they could be. They’ve been good but never great. Anthony may not help the Clippers win a title this year, but he and Paul could present a solid foundation for a new era of Clippers basketball come 2017 NBA free agency. It’s not a likely pivot for either franchise, but this is a trade scenario for which Anthony would waive his no-trade clause. Probably.

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