By Eduardo Monk Jr
Congratulations, Knicks fans! Your franchise has officially grew into incompetence levels that were never thought to be possible. For years, the Knicks have been a laughingstock, a total dumpster fire that has been burning since the early 2000s. The play on the court is almost as asinine as the 4 years war between Phil Jackson and the actual players. And despite his long awaited departure, the crowning jewel of the Big Apple Carmelo Anthony is as fed up with the franchise as the fans are.
The ten-time All-Star has been the face of the franchise since 2011. But despite this and having two more years on his contract, there are few who can disagree he’s on the outs real soon. The Knicks are a franchise chasing its tail right now and Anthony is a 54 million dollar distraction. So the question arises- what do the Knicks do with Melo?
There are essentially three places to go when a franchise has a player who doesn’t want to be there anymore- either through trade, wait out his contract or through the buyout. However, as of right now, the buyout should be a last resort. This leads to 54 million in dead money the Knicks have to still throw at Anthony even though he’s not in a Knicks jersey anymore. At that point, it may be worth waiting out his contract even though there’s no way Melo is dealing with the toxic situation with the Knicks for two more years.
So this leaves exclusively the trade option. There’s a small problem with this though-Anthony has a no trade clause. Unless he waives that, the Knicks are in a sticky situation. He essentially gets to pick where he gets traded or he isn’t traded at all. This leaves very few options for the Knicks and where to ship him.
So let’s review the few options the Knicks have as of right now. Here are the three most likely and realistic teams we could see Melo play for next season. For now, let’s just negate the no-trade clause and assume he willingly goes anywhere he’s traded. There’s really no way to predict which teams he would disallow and which ones he would actually go to.
So let’s hop to it.
Kevin Love for Carmelo Anthony
This is a deal that has been making quite the run through reports and headlines as of late and for good reason. This is a deal that makes a good amount of sense. The Banana Boat crew (Anthony, LeBron, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade if you did not know) have dreamed of playing with each other since their inception and this trade puts half of them in the same city.
The Cavaliers are licking their wounds after a borderline embarrassing Finals show and a move like this wouldn’t put them in an undisputed position to defeat the Warriors but it would for sure help. Kevin Love is an amenity at times and isn’t much more than a solid rebounder and a spotty shooter. Switching him out with one of the top volume scorers in the league takes a lot off of LeBron’s shoulders offensively and lets him focus on what he does best- running and creating offense for everyone else.
And I don’t think there’s much question Melo would have many problems going to go play with his best bud LeBron.
Clint Capela, Eric Gordon, Trevor Ariza for Carmelo Anthony
The Rockets are a team caught up completely with the Arms Race that is raging in the NBA. They are doing whatever possible to keep up with the Warriors and if it means moving every strong role player they have for another big name, there’s little doubt they’ll pull the trigger.
The Knicks don’t get much star power to replace Anthony but they get three sturdy contributors in the Sixth Man of the Year Gordon, youngster Clint Capela, and the reliable Trevor Ariza. They get three starting level players and right now with the laughable position the Knicks are in, that’s really what they need to start clawing their way back to relevance.
Alec Burks, Boris Diaw, Dante Exum, Raul Neto for Carmelo Anthony
The Jazz just got burned by their franchise star Gordon Hayward and are now a team in desperation mode. In a historically stacked Western Conference, Utah is suddenly an obsolete team after being the fifth seed and making the second round only months ago. This move screams desperation but as of right now, Utah doesn’t have much of a choice after losing Hayward.
The Jazz are a team heavily reliant on hard-nosed basketball with Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert being the franchise pillars. They lack a scorer or any amount of offensive firepower anywhere on the roster. And who better to take on that role than Anthony?
The Knicks get a proven starter in Burks, a contributing veteran in Diaw, Dante Exum is raw but could be molded into a starting level point guard and Raul Neto is some nice incentive for depth. These four could together hold the Knicks franchise from imploding once again. They’re far from a playoff team but they’re closer with these players than with Anthony.