3 Realistic Trades for Carmelo Anthony: the future of the New York Knicks
Talking about trades for Carmelo Anthony is all the rage now that we have a blue-chip prospect in Kristaps Porzingis, but finding the right fit is more difficult than deciphering what the hell Clyde is talking about half the time during broadcasts. The New York Knicks have been pretty much synonymous with dysfunction and disappointment over the better part of this century. From trading away valuable draft picks for the worst Italian since Mussolini to signing clinically obese, immobile big men to multi-year, cap-destroying deals, this team has had little to be excited about for a long time. The Knicks are a hapless collection of oxymorons– a big market team in a center of world culture that nobody wants to play in, a team with a huge payroll and minuscule win total, a team that plays in the “Mecca of basketball” but usually loses to whichever team makes a pilgrimage there– so it’s only fitting that the one time in the past two decades that they’ve had a legit superstar is also the one time when the best thing to do for the franchise is trading him.
Although the Knicks are in no shape to compete for a championship as currently constructed, some of the ingredients are in the cupboard. There’s the scoring machine that can get buckets against any defense, a budding defensive stopper with unlimited range, and some young, tough guards that can stroke it from deep. But for everything that is in stock there is something missing, and the store probably won’t be stocking it any time soon. This team has everything except enough talent and coaching to win ball games.
Right pieces. The wrong time.
Seeing as how the timelines of the team’s best pieces don’t really align( Melo being 31 and Kristael JORD-zingis merely 19), it could be that the team won’t be in contention until Mr. Anthony is too old. While he can be this generation’s Paul Pierce(a star who never had enough help to play with the big boys until late in his career), do we really want to chance that? On the other hand, the organization is finally showing some signs of sensible management and finally has a bright future, do they really want to trade the best player the team has had since Patrick Ewing while he is still in his prime?
Depending on how you look it, it might be the best thing to do. IF they strike gold in free agency, say, Nicholas Batum, Mike Conley or both and a few solid veterans, then maybe there is hope that they can go down in a blaze of glory to the Lebron James Eastern Conference Championship corporation in the conference finals, but if they strike out again, then the landscape is bleak. Melo will be going on 33 with no sign of hope coming for another year or two at least. While he is still worth something, the Knicks could do well by trading him, accumulating draft picks and growing around a new core of young players. Which brings us to:
Crafting the right trade for Melo isn’t easy. First, he has a no trade clause, but that doesn’t worry me much seeing as how the current roster would send me screaming to the nearest competitor if I were an NBA superstar on the backend of my prime. Second, we would need to get solid young players and picks. The problem here is that the teams that Melo wants to go to probably won’t give us the type of pick we are looking for. That means getting the best young player possible, accumulating some solid picks, and tanking when we have our own pick next year while letting Magic-staps John-zingis develop by having free reign to devour unsuspecting defenses with his dragon-like wings and fire breath.
Step 1) Which teams might Melo go to?
First you need a contender or a team on the brink of contention in a place that doesn’t suck (sorry Orlando, Sacramento, and Utah). Certain places like Indy and OKC might not appeal to a city boy, can overcome their prairie issues with their sheer basketball abilities in my opinion. Current NBA chainsaw, Golden State won’t be making any changes, so they’re out. That leaves us with(in no order):
Houston, Cleveland, Indiana, Chicago, Miami, Atlanta, OKC, Memphis, Dallas, LAC, New Orleans, Washington and Phoenix.
Step 2) Who has something we want?
We want a nice young player(or at least not old), cap relief and picks. That is going to eliminate Cleveland, Indiana, Memphis, Dallas, and LAC right off the bat. Sorry, but they have nothing we want. Now we have Houston, Chicago, Miami, Atlanta, OKC, NOP, Washington and PHX.
Step 3) Find the real suitors
Sadly, Phoenix has a bevy of nice young assets but getting Melo wouldn’t vault them into contention. Same with Washington since we’d want Bradly Beal or nothing. I’m afraid they both need to be scratched from the board. New Orleans doesn’t really have any interesting players or picks aside from Jrue Holiday, who is oft injured and might actually be too good too quickly and win us more games than we want( DAMN YOU FISHER FOR WINNING THOSE GAMES AT THE END OF LAST SEASON!), so they are gone. All of OKC’s nice picks are gone when we need them, and they don’t really have anyone young that could help us or be anything good in the future, so that leaves us with Houston, Chicago, Miami and Atlanta. But Atlanta has a good thing going, and Melo wouldn’t fit there ball movement style of play( you know? those teams that pass the ball?!?). So now we are down to 3 measly little teams that would suit Melo, the Knicks and themselves in a trade: Houston, Chicago and Miami.
The Trades for Carmelo Anthony
New York trades Carmelo Anthony, Jose Calderon and Lou Amundson
Houston trades Ty Lawson, Patrick Beverly, Corey Brewer, K.J McDaniels and Terrence Jones + a 2018 first round pick and a 2020 first round pick.
Why for New York?
The Knicks go into full rebuild mode and nab two future firsts + a very intriguing youngish player in Terrence Jones. He can hit the corner 3, run the floor, and is a great athlete. He just needs playing time and an open system. Beverly is a known quantity but a solid player that can shore up our PG defense, and with Beverly, Gallo, and Porzingis locked up long-term we will be set on that end of the floor. K.J has shown some promise at times, and could be a solid rotation player in the future. Ty Lawson is an alcoholic that would have fit in great with the Ray Felton era Knicks where they could hit the town and get arrested together, but would probably be cut by this new Knicks squad. And Corey Brewer is….from Tennessee.
Embrace the tank, go young and cheap, get some picks, and pray.
Why For Houston?
Houston has all of the elements of a contender but hasn’t put it together so far this season. Many pegged them as a the hipster pick to make the finals this season after their run last year, and with their star wing/big duo plus solid wing defenders in Beverly, Ariza, Brewer, there was no reason to think otherwise…until the season started. Melo would give them more raw offensive talent than any team in the league outside of the state of Oklahoma, and they’d still have enough depth to weather the storm during bench time. This is the proverbial all-in push as they say. It sucks losing their two pg’s in this trade, but seeing as how Ty Lawson isn’t even really running the point much anyway when he even gets playing time and Calderon is coming over, there is no reason to think this trade wouldn’t make them one of the best teams in the West. They might have to take a flyer on a free agent or d-league guy just to shore up their PG or SG spot but having Melo would be worth it.
#2 The Chicago Bulls
New York Trades Carmelo Anthony, Derrick Williams, Lou Amundson, and Cleanthony Early
Chicago trades Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, Nikola Mirotic, Doug McDermott, Tony Snell and a 2016 first round pick from Sacramento (protected 1-10 in 2016 and 2017), a 2018 first round pick and a future 2nd round pick.
Why for New York?
Nikola, Dougie McBuckets, and Tony Snell represent some decent young players for the Knicks to stash long term, and Mirotic would fit nicely next to GOATzingis on a mighty triple towers lineup of Lopez, Zing, and Mirotic. Mirotic and McBuckets can hit the 3 ball nicely, and Taj Gibson is a future trade chip. Noah expires and saves Dolan a bunch of cash for him to spend at the casinos in Connecticut. The chances of us getting Sacramento’s pick look OK seeing as how they will probably finish just out of the playoff race, giving us a shot at the 11-12-13 spot, and next season they may improve into the playoff picture with Cousins healthy, giving us a better chance at getting it next year. We also get a pick in 2018 and a future 2nd. Not to mention we tank harder than Berlin in 1945.
Why for Chicago?
Chicago guts its core, but when looked at objectively without the emotion attached to Noah and Gibson from the good ol’ days, they aren’t giving up too much. Mirotic, Snell, and Dougie are nice but are they better than Carmelo Anthony? Their starting lineup would be nice: Rose/Butler/Melo/Portis/Gasol or perhaps even Rose/Dunleavy/Butler/Melo/Gasol. Their depth would take a hit but Williams is a nice bench player and they’d still have brooks, Hinrich, Amundson, and Portis to back up the starters plus Early who has shown that he can hang at this level from time to time. They would try to get over the hump against Lebron for the first time by outgunning the Cavaliers…. aka praying to the injury gods to take one of the Cavs.
#3 The Miami Heat
New York trades: Carmelo Anthony to Miami
Miami trades: Justise Winslow, Tyler Johnson, Josh McRoberts, and Chris Anderson to New York and Luol Deng to Indiana
Indiana trades: Rodney Stuckey to Miami and Chase Budinger to New York + a 2017 first round pick to New York
Why for the New York Knicks?
The Knicks would get back two nice young players in Winslow and Johnson. Winslow has all the tools to be a great player if he puts it together, and Johnson has shown some signs in his first two seasons with the Heat. Budinger and Anderson expire at the end of the season, and McRoberts only makes 5 million-ish a year. They embrace the tank, can off McRoberts in a trade if need be, get a few picks to sweeten the deal and roll forward with a core of Kristapsrick Ewzingis, Justise Winslow, Langston Galloway, Jerian Grant, and Tyler Johnson. Empire State Building-like upside + picks + cap room = a situation even Isaiah Thomas himself would have trouble ruining.
*the Knicks would have to cut Sasha Vujacic, Amundsen, and Early.
Why for Miami?
They are right on the edge of being a contender, but there is an awful lot of firepower in Cleveland right now. There aren’t many good Wade years left and paying tax with an aging group of star players means you need to contend. Getting rid of Winslow and Johnson is going to make Pat Riley’s finely gelled hair turn whiter than it already is, but getting Carmelo Anthony would make them contenders immediately. Their starting lineup would be Dragic-Wade-Melo-Bosh-Whiteside, and their ECF battles with Cleveland would be so epic that bards would sing tales of them far and wide for centuries. They would still have Stuckey, Green, and Amare to shore up the bench but would have to take a trip to the island of misfit backup bigs to fill out their rotation. They’d be able to play big, play small, defend and out gun just about anyone in the league.
Why for Indiana?
At first it may seem like giving up two players and a future pick for Luol Deng is an overpay, but if you look closely it works out well. Not only are Budinger and Stuckey not anything special(Stuckey is below average in most advanced statistics and Budinger is Chase Budinger), they also shed enough salary to have a ton of cap space next year. Deng would be a big upgrade and allow them to play two of the best wing defenders in the game side by side while not sacrificing floor spacing. A lineup of Hill-Ellis-Deng-George-Mahimi is not only good defensively, it is also nearly impossible to guard considering Paul George’s god mode season so far. Seeing as how their pick is going to be late in the first the price is fair.
The Knicks may decide that they want to swing for the fences in free agency, win now, and keep their star player, or they may decide to blow it up, go young and build a contender in a few years. These 3 trades for Carmelo Anthony are the only even semi-realistic deals that could possibly get Anthony to waive his no-trade clause while still satisfying the needs of the teams involved. The New York Knickerbockers won’t get nearly the king’s ransom for Melo that they paid all those years ago when they still had delusions of winning an NBA title with Amare Stoudemire, but they’ll get enough to lose a lot of games and get high draft picks. After all, it’s what they do best.
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