Dec 7, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony (7) controls the ball against Cleveland Cavaliers small forward LeBron James (23) during the third quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
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Carmelo Anthony would consider accepting a trade if the New York Knicks prefer to rebuild. What potential trades would help both Anthony and the Knicks?
As the New York Knicks continue to fall short of expectations, talk has inevitably arisen of the potential for Carmelo Anthony to be traded. Anthony controls his own destiny in that regard, as Phil Jackson included a no-trade clause in the nine-time All-Star’s contract.
With the Knicks nearing a fourth consecutive season without a postseason appearance, however, the time for a change may soon be upon us.
Anthony and Jackson recently met to discuss the future of the Knicks and how the franchise player fits into it. Anthony maintained that he doesn’t want to be traded, but mere days after the meeting, he’s changed his tune.
Anthony reportedly told Al Iannazzone of Newsday that he’d consider accepting a trade if the Knicks decided to execute a rebuild.
“I think it will be more on the front office,” Anthony told Newsday this week. “I have the power, but still I would talk to them. We would be in communication if they feel like they want to go in a different direction, they want to start rebuilding for the future. If they tell me they want to scrap this whole thing, yeah, I have to consider it.”
It’s hard to blame Anthony for not wanting to spend the final years of his prime on a team that consists of young players who aren’t yet ready to win.
Anthony is a nine-time All-Star and six-time All-NBA honoree who has made 10 postseason appearances in 13 completed seasons. He and the Knicks haven’t reached the playoffs since 2012-13, however, when New York won 54 games and secured the Atlantic Division title.
If Anthony decides that a change of scenery is necessary, then just one question will remain: which trades would benefit both he and the Knicks?
Jan 17, 2017; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat guard Goran Dragic (7) dribbles the ball against Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley (2) during the second half at American Airlines Arena. The Heat won 109-103. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
5. Miami Heat
The Miami Heat are 13-30, but this trade could work out long-term for both Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks. It would give New York long-term building blocks and cap space, and Miami the type of player whom Pat Riley can work with to build something special.
It’s No. 5 on this list due to the fact that Anthony is unlikely to accept a trade to a 13-30 team, but it makes the list due to the long-term upside and appeal of playing in Miami.
Miami Heat get SF, Carmelo Anthony; PG, Brandon Jennings
New York Knicks get PG, Goran Dragic; SG, Wayne Ellington; SF, Justise Winslow
Anthony would join a Heat team that would still have rising star Hassan Whiteside at center. It would also have the intriguing combination of Tyler Johnson and Josh Richardson at shooting guard, who are two solid building blocks.
Whiteside is averaging 17.3 points, 14.2 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks per game in 2016-17, which offers Anthony immediate reason to make the move to Miami.
The Heat also have the ultimate Big Three builder in Pat Riley and what projects to be intriguing cap space if Miami waives Chris Bosh and pays him via the stretch provision.
Back in New York, the Knicks would get Goran Dragic, who made the All-NBA Third Team while playing for Jeff Hornacek in Phoenix. New York would also land small forward Justise Winslow, who’s 20 years of age and better fits the Knicks’ timeline.
Phil Jackson would likely ask for a draft pick to get this deal done, and it stands to reason that he could succeed in getting one.
This trade is highly unlikely, but it’s a testament to how few options combine a need for a player of Anthony’s skill set and an appealing market.
Jan 12, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Chicago Bulls forward Taj Gibson (22) controls the ball while being defended by New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) during the first quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
4. Chicago Bulls
It’s no secret that Carmelo Anthony considered signing with the Chicago Bulls during the summer of 2014. The idea was that Anthony would go to Chicago to team up with Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose, with whom he’s now teammates.
While Noah and Rose are attempting to rediscover their past glory, Anthony could do something of the same by agreeing to a trade to Chicago.
Chicago Bulls get SF, Carmelo Anthony; PG, Brandon Jennings; F, Maurice Daly Ndour
New York Knicks get PF, Taj Gibson; F, Nikola Mirotic; PG, Rajon Rondo; 2017 First-Round Draft Pick
This may not be the sexiest of trades, but it could benefit both teams.
Anthony would ship to Chicago to play alongside close friend Dwyane Wade and rising star Jimmy Butler. He’d also reunite with Robin Lopez, with whom he played during the 2015-16 NBA season as members of the Knicks.
That group, alongside either Michael Carter-Williams, ex-Knick Jerian Grant, or the included Brandon Jennings, would push the Bulls into the Top 4 in the Eastern Conference.
As for the Knicks, they’d be getting Taj Gibson and Nikola Mirotic on expiring deals, Rajon Rondo on a team-friendly contract, and a first-round draft pick. Rondo only has $3 million guaranteed in 2017-18. The Bulls project to have a pick in the 18-to-22 range.
Gibson is a Brooklyn native who would solidify the Knicks’ defense and potentially re-sign due to his local ties. Mirotic is a tantalizing talent whom Kristaps Porzingis looked up to in Liga ACB.
Mirotic will be a restricted free agent in 2017, which would thus give New York the right to match any offer.
If any coach is going to help Mirotic and Rondo realize their potential as NBA players, it’s going to be the savvy Jeff Hornacek.
Jan 13, 2017; Sacramento, CA, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love (0) warms up before the game against the Sacramento Kings at Golden 1 Center. The Cavaliers defeated the Kings 120-108. Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports
3. Cleveland Cavaliers
If the rumors are true that Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James want to play together, then why not explore the possibility? The New York Knicks aren’t making a trade to become an instant contender, which means enabling the Cleveland Cavaliers to improve wouldn’t be a bad decision.
The question is: would the Cavaliers be willing to trade the resurgent Kevin Love in order to acquire Anthony from the Knicks?
Cleveland Cavaliers get SF, Carmelo Anthony; C, Marshall Plumlee
New York Knicks get SG, DeAndre Liggins; PF, Kevin Love
Cleveland would be giving something up from a rebounding perspective, but Anthony is a better scorer than Love in the sense that he can space the floor and play inside.
Furthermore, James got Tristan Thompson an $82 million contract for a reason—and one could argue that he’s earned it in the 2015 and 2016 NBA Finals.
For the Knicks, adding Love to the roster would mean shifting Kristaps Porzingis to center. That’s a risky proposition this early in Porzingis’ career, but New York would have two elite shooters as big men and Love would dramatically improve the Knicks’ defensive rebounding.
Love leaves something to be desired on defense, but the Knicks would immediately become one of the Eastern Conference’s best offensive teams with that interior duo.
Anthony would join a legitimate contender and play with a close friend, while the Knicks would get younger—Love is 28 years of age—and better fit Porzingis’ timeline.
If we’ve learned anything about Anthony, it’s that he plays like a superstar alongside great playmakers—and James and Irving certainly fit the bill.
January 16, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan (6) grabs a rebound against the Oklahoma City Thunder during the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
2. Los Angeles Clippers
One of the most commonly speculated blockbuster trades in NBA circles revolves around Carmelo Anthony and Blake Griffin. That swap is an intriguing possibility, but there’s another proposition that seems far more likely to be accepted.
The Los Angeles Clippers wouldn’t give up a 27-year-old on the rise for a 32-year-old who may be on the decline, but it would be worth asking for DeAndre Jordan.
Los Angeles Clippers get SF, Carmelo Anthony; C, Marshall Plumlee
New York Knicks get SG, Alan Anderson; PF, Brandon Bass; C, DeAndre Jordan;
Making this work could be tricky considering the fact that some of Doc Rivers’ favorite players have the cheapest contracts. That includes veteran power forward Brandon Bass and intriguing rookie Brice Johnson.
New York could likely convince the Clippers to include Bass, however, if Chris Paul convinces Doc Rivers that Anthony is the right player to trade for.
For Los Angeles, an elite offensive Big Three of Anthony, Griffin, and Paul would be created, albeit to the detriment of the defense. This would increase the odds of Paul re-signing this coming summer, as he’s close friends with Anthony.
It may also increase the odds of Griffin re-signing if the Clippers manage to get out of the second round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs.
For New York, they could cut Anderson upon his acquisition and add two players who would improve the defense. Jordan is one of the best defensive centers in the NBA, while Bass is a respected veteran who gives a concerted effort on both ends.
New York would need to figure out what to do with Joakim Noah, but if the New York Knicks can get an All-NBA center who can anchor the defense and dominate the boards, it would be hard to say no.
Jan 10, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Boston Celtics forward Jae Crowder (99) plays defense against the Toronto Raptors at Air Canada Centre. The Raptors beat the Celtics 114-106. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
1. Boston Celtics
Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge is in the market for a scorer who can elevate a borderline contender to legitimacy. Isaiah Thomas is playing at an All-NBA level, Al Horford could be an All-Star, and Avery Bradley is defending as well as any player in the Association.
In a trade that would enable Boston to keep its core, the New York Knicks could trade Carmelo Anthony and position itself for a glorious rebuild.
Boston Celtics get SF, Carmelo Anthony; F, Maurice Daly Ndour; C, Marshall Plumlee
New York Knicks get 2017 First Round Draft Pick (via Nets); SF, Jae Crowder; PF, Jonas Jerebko; PF, Amir Johnson
This is a win-win scenario.
Anthony would join a Celtics team that would maintain its core of Bradley, Horford, and Thomas. Boston would also keep a vast majority of its depth, including Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart, all the while adding one of the NBA’s premier scorers.
Coupled with the opportunity to play for revered head coach Brad Stevens, Anthony wouldn’t find many opportunities better than this.
For New York, the appeal of this trade would be the addition of Jae Crowder, the acquisition of the Brooklyn Nets’ 2017 first-round draft pick, and the creation of cap space. Brooklyn, of course, has the worst record in the NBA.
Thus, it could potentially net the Knicks the No. 1 pick in the stacked 2017 NBA Draft and give New York two 2017 first-rounders to complement Kristaps Porzingis with.
As for Crowder, he’s one of the most versatile players in the NBA, as well as a rugged defender whom Phil Jackson has publicly praised. He would immediately improve the Knicks’ defense.
From a financial perspective. Jonas Jerebko and Amir Johnson are both pending free agents who would create $17 million in cap space.