With Trade Talks Stagnant, Will Carmelo Leave the Big Apple After All?
Before the news broke that Kyrie Irving wanted to “Leave-Land”, the central focus of the NBA offseason was on Carmelo Anthony. Trade talk remains up in the air – but the story itself is losing its gravity. The Melo trade is floating in the NBA offseason orbit with multiple teams reportedly interested. But Carmelo only has one team in mind. His focus is taking his talents to Texas to hoop with CP3 and the Beard.
Houston, What’s the Problem?
Although reports surfaced that a multi-team deal would send Melo to H-Town, absolutely nothing has happened. However, there is a chance that as you are reading this, a deal has been made. Then again, the opposite could be true also
Anthony has stated he will only break his no trade clause if it means he’ll be wearing a Rockets jersey. The New York Knicks want to make sure they acquire valuable pieces in a trade of their NBA All Star. The two sides are at a standstill.
Prior to the Melo-to-Rockets headlines, Anthony was being linked to joining up with LeBron James in Cleveland. Has that deal regained some steam now that the Kyrie situation is getting uglier and uglier by the surfacing reports? It’s possible the Knicks may be trying to convince Melo to break his clause to team up with Bron so that they can land Irving in the Big Apple? Not sure Melo would pay much mind to that if his heart is truly set on the Rockets.
Now, other reports are coming to light that Anthony may wind up teaming with reigning MVP Russell Westbrook and newest Thunder star Paul George in Oklahoma City. Would Melo break his no trade clause to help make the Thunder the most formidable test in the West for Golden State? This would be intriguing. Imagine Westbrook rolling with two Bigs in Steven Adams and Enes Kantar, and having the point production of PG-13 and Melo? If they could gel, this would be a fun team to watch.
The Portland Trail Blazers? According to Damian Lillard, he believes adding Anthony to his squad would make the Blazers more threatening in the Western Conference. I’m not sure I’m buying this one. Blazers don’t have much trade assets to offer the Knicks to persuade them to ship Melo to Portland. Well, now that Phil Jackson isn’t there. He may have traded him for a fortune cookie and Chinese finger trap. I’m sure Melo wouldn’t have broken his trade clause had Jackson still been overseeing things.
So, what are the realistic options and what would be the best-case scenario?
This is Anthony’s preferred destination, but I’m not sold on his fit with the Rockets. Houston already has made a mistake – in my opinion – by acquiring an aging, often injured CP3 in exchange for the heart and soul of the Rockets defense, Patrick Beverly. With a Mike D’Antoni run offense that puts more emphasis on pace and scoring, Beverly did the dirty work. He played gritty and was a presence on the defensive side of the ball. They also let go arguably the best 6th man in basketball in Lou Williams – who on any given night can come off the bench and set the nets on fire.
Adding Carmelo to the mix would mean shipping more pieces out of Texas. Trevor Ariza – a solid piece of the team last season – likely would be included in the trade. Possibly the Knicks would want Ariza and Clint Capella. If this is the case, I don’t care how many points Carmelo would put up, it wouldn’t be worth getting rid of Ariza and Capella. Houston was already so close last season. They have players that can score already and should focus on adding scorers who can play defense. Melo’s defense is ok but inconsistent. His best attribute is he’s such an efficient scorer that he doesn’t have to rely on defense when he’s scoring at the rate he does.
Melo’s effect on offense draws attention, which opens shots for other players. He hasn’t been surrounded by the most efficient shooters the past few years. Because of this, the Knicks have struggled to get more W’s than L’s. Melo in Houston would be a point producer and honestly, there’s a chance it could work. I think it wouldn’t work right away. There would be a transitional period where Anthony gets used to playing with two other ball dominant players in Chris Paul and James Harden. It could be difficult for cohesiveness to become fluid, which could set the Houston Rockets back.
Although it seems like it’s Houston or bust for Carmelo, it may not be the best overall fit.
The Knicks would love this scenario. They ship Melo to the Land and acquire a star to build around in Kyrie. Anthony would be guaranteed himself a shot at an NBA title and – at the very least – would be playing in the Eastern Conference Championship. Depending on which pieces remain on the Cavaliers, if LeBron is on the roster a finals appearance is as good as gold.
Kyrie would get what he wants. He would be the star. Despite the Knicks having the unicorn Kristaps Porzingas, make no mistake about it – Kyrie would be running that team. He would bring championship jewelry and championship experience to a young Knicks roster eager to taste the post season. If Kyrie would be able to propel the Knicks into the playoffs, he may get a chance to go head to head with LeBron. A showdown that – per the reports surfacing – both James and Irving may look forward too.
It would be a long shot, but if the Knicks can entice Melo, both New York and Anthony would be in a better position following this trade.
I like this scenario. I’m just wondering what pieces or draft capital the Thunder could offer. They can’t afford to lose either Adams or Kantar, otherwise they would lose this trade. Oklahoma City would have to get another team or team(s) involved.
For the Thunder to threaten the Warriors, they need more firepower. Carmelo would be just that. He would do just enough on defense to have an effect. Offensively, he would get buckets. Beating the Warriors requires scoring a lot, and Melo can do that. He could create opportunities for Westbrook and PG-13, who would thrive in one-on-one situational basketball.
But how is OKC different from the Rockets? I just believe it’s a better fit. I think he can blend more naturally with the Thunder. I think the chemistry would develop quicker – despite Melo being good friends with CP3. If somehow both sides could work something out, the Thunder would be competing with Golden State to represent the Western Conference in the Summer series.
Where will Melo Land?
I’m unsure if Melo will be able to force the trade to his desired location. He’s done that once; not sure he can do it again. The ball is in New York’s court. They will trade Melo to the destination that suits their needs. If they can’t gain anything significant to boost the Knicks roster, they don’t trade Melo. Simple as that.
Melo is under contract until 2019. If he’s unhappy in New York, he’ll be unhappy for a while. The Knicks’ focus is – and rightfully should be – on acquiring Kyrie Irving for Melo. That’s the goal. It will take the Rockets offering a whole lot to make trading Carmelo worth their while. That package would need to include players like Eric Gordon, Nene, Ryan Anderson, Clint Capella, and Trevor Ariza in some capacity. Houston needs to be smart and keep many of the key players that put them in the position they were last season. Too high of a turnover on the roster doesn’t mean reaching a higher playoff plateau – even if Melo is the addition.
My guess is Melo either stays in New York or teams up with LeBron in Cleveland. But for all I know, more teams may get involved and somehow Melo ends up on the Utah Jazz.
Carmelo and the Knicks do. Well, they know what each other wants. But who will win the tug-of-war remains to be seen.
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