Carmelo Anthony is at odds with the New York Knicks. The forward is being shopped around in trade talks with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Los Angeles Clippers and Boston Celtics despite having a no-trade clause in his contract.
Knicks GM Phil Jackson appears to be trying to push Anthony out of the Big Apple, publicly taking shots at him throughout the season. In December, Anthony and Jackson met to discuss comments made by the former Bulls and Lakers championship winning coach on CBS Sports.
“Carmelo a lot of times wants to hold the ball longer than – we have a rule: If you hold a pass two seconds, you benefit the defence. So, he has a little bit of a tendency to hold it for three, four, five seconds, and then everybody comes to a stop,” Jackson said.
Most recently, Jackson referenced a Bleacher Report article criticising the All-Star in a tweet and compared him to one of his former players for the Albany Patroons, Michael Graham, a man who Jackson had previously revealed in his memoir that he had trouble getting through to.
It’s getting to the point where it’s better for both parties to part ways before it gets any uglier and starts dramatically affecting the team’s performance.
So even if Melo does waive his no-trade clause, where does he go?
At this stage, Cleveland appear as the most likely destination for Anthony to land if he does leave New York. He would finally get to play with one of his best friends in the league via LeBron James and be another player for the Cavs that has, according to James himself, the “ultra-green light.”
Playing with LeBron and having his best shot at a title in his career would reinvigorate the 13-year veteran, who has stagnated in New York to be stuck on one of the league’s poorer outfits. He would happen to remove pressure away from the superstar, who is playing 37.6 minutes per game – the second-highest in the NBA.
The problem with Carmelo going to Cleveland is on the Knicks end of the court. They won’t accept anything less than Kevin Love in any trade they make. Parting with Kevin Love, who is one of the cornerstones of the Cavs championship team, so soon after winning a title isn’t the best move for Cleveland. Love is having possibly his best season since he arrived in Cleveland, averaging 20.4 points and 11.1 rebounds per game, both increases over his first two seasons with the Cavs.
He so happens to fit better in Cleveland’s offence with the franchise already boasting two of the best isolation players in the league courtesy of James and Kyrie Irving. Adding one more has the potential to slow Cleveland’s offence to a crawl.
Los Angeles Clippers
Heading to the City of Angels and the Clippers is a very attractive option for both parties. Like Cleveland, Anthony would have the opportunity to play with another close friend in Chris Paul and a legitimate shot at a title. The forward would fill a hole in the Clippers depth chart that has held them back in the past.
The Clippers have been able to go deep in the playoffs with a core group of Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, but adding an elite scorer the calibre of Anthony might take the Clippers to the next level. The nine-time All-Star owns an offseason home in Los Angeles and has already agreed to waive his no-trade clause should he be dealt to the Clippers.
The issue for the Clippers is working out how much they want to concede to acquire Carmelo. It’s fair to say that Paul, Griffin and Jordan are off the table, so what else can the Clippers offer? With the Knicks looking towards rebuilding around Kristaps Porzingis, the Clippers have veterans that can help guide the young Knicks and assets that are attractive for trades with other teams coming up.
Any trade would have to include, at minimum, one of JJ Redick, Jamal Crawford or Austin Rivers among other pieces. The problem with that is losing one of those players and some other pieces, having the potential to ruin the Clippers’ depth but a starting line-up that includes Paul, Anthony and Griffin could be impossible to guard.
Boston is an interesting place for Anthony to end up. The Celtics are second in the Eastern Conference and just 3.5 games behind the Cavs. Adding a former scoring champion and putting him with one of the league’s best young point guards in Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford to form a new Big Three could take the Celtics from up-and-coming to instant title contender. The Celtics have plenty of young talent that would be perfect to send to a rebuilding Knicks team.
Boston is close to New York, so there would be little impact on Anthony and his family in terms of moving or losing the New York lifestyle. The Boston Globe has also reported that the Celtics are one of the teams that Anthony mentioned he would waive his no-trade clause for.
However, Celtics president Danny Ainge has supposedly rejected the notion of trading for Anthony and that’s probably the right call. Adding Carmelo might improve Boston’s offence but it’s a dramatic downgrade for them defensively, especially if they have to give up too much young talent.
While it isn’t likely at the moment, things can change pretty quickly in the NBA so don’t count the move out just yet.