Cleat Geeks

The Carmelo Anthony Trade Makes Sense For Clippers & Knicks

Another season, another disappointing early exit in the NBA playoffs for the Los Angeles Clippers. The high power roster of the Clippers, led by PG Chris Paul, were hoping to make a longer run for the playoffs but due to injuries (once again) on PF Blake Griffin, the Clippers could not get past the 1st round. Every player on the Clippers roster except for Chris Paul and C DeAndre Jordan could not find an answer to the Utah Jazz’ 1st ranked scoring defense. Now they face a harsh off-season with PG Chris Paul, PF Blake Griffin, and SG J.J. Redick all expected to be free agents.

Photo by; J. Causi

Across the U.S. the New York Knicks face a different kind of problem involving their star players. After suffering another disappointing regular season (31-51), the Knicks must prepare for the off-season to acquire much-needed talent and convince their veteran leaders to stay. That is easier said than done when team president Phil Jackson has been critical of star SF Carmelo Anthony all season long. It is more of a one-sided fight as Carmelo wanted to keep his focus on the court. This season, Anthony accounted for an average of 22.4 points per game, 5.9 rebounds per game, 2.9 assists per game and .82 steals per game.

Before the NBA trade deadline, the Clippers and the Knicks were in serious talks to trade Carmelo to Los Angeles for a combination deal involving Clippers PG Austin Rivers and SG Jamal Crawford. The deal was considered to be a rumor but was defined as official a few weeks ago. This trade would’ve sent Carmelo away from Phil Jackson’s care to be with his good friend, Chris Paul, in return for more role players. For years, the Clippers have had an issue of a reliable Small Forward since Matt Barnes left Los Angeles. While starting SF Luc Richard Mhab a Moute is one of the top defending Small Forwards in the NBA, he is at best a small time scorer by accounting for an average of 6.1 points per game.

With the off-season here for both teams, there will be plenty of time for more discussions for both organizations to continue discussing the trade involving Carmelo. In this off-season, however, both PG Chris Paul and PF Blake Griffin have 5th-year player options to opt out of their contracts and test free agency. While Griffin and Paul have stated that they want to come back to the Clippers, they are asking for more significant money. Paul is expecting to reach out for a max contract of $210 million for 5 years. This is a lot of money for the Clippers to give away for one or even two players which is why they are not expecting SG J.J. Redick back for a potential $40 to $65 million contract.

The fans of the Los Angeles Clippers have faith in both Paul and Griffin but do not have much faith in Head Coach/General Manager Doc Rivers. The Clippers are the 1st team in NBA history to blow 5 straight playoff series leads in 5 years. Fans are demanding changes, mostly at the head coaching position. Rivers has not played his Draft picks efficiently and has made bad trades (see the Jeff Green trade from Memphis). For the organization, acquiring Carmelo Anthony could be a big chance for the Clippers to be a legit threat in the NBA playoffs.

This will also be a win for the New York Knicks if they enact a trade to send Carmelo to the Clippers but they must do so with the right mindset. After being called a “superteam” by PG Derrick Rose, the Knicks struggled to keep their team healthy with Rose having his 4th huge knee injury of his career and C Joakim Noah struggling to score consistently. All the negative PR outlook on the Knicks (most from Phil Jackson) have turned eyes away from young star PF Kristaps Porzingis and his stellar play. With Rose expecting to be a free agent, the Knicks are expected to grab one of the best Point Guards in the 2017 NBA Draft in Markelle Fultz (Washington), Lonzo Ball (UCLA) or Malik Monk (Kentucky).

For the Knicks to acquire a young, elite talented player from an early Draft pick will be big for head coach Jeff Hornacek who might be looking to build his own team instead of making an older “superstar team.” With this potential trade from the Clippers, the loss of Carmelo Anthony will bring a huge depletion of talent and playmaking ability but this can be a big chance for a rebuild effectively. Hornacek must have a say in who they might acquire from L.A. because it will be his team in his own image. J.J. Redick could be a great addition to the Knicks organization because he can be more than a role player as he was for the Clippers but has yet to take that big star playing role. Redick wants more money and a bigger opportunity but may not get it in Los Angeles. He is, however, a free agent but could be involved in a sign and trade deal to the Knicks to be the next veteran leader for the Knicks. The deal could also send PG Austin Rivers (the son of Clippers’ head coach Doc Rivers) to play Carmelo’s old position of Small Forward.

There are multiple scenarios in order for this trade to happen. One is that Doc Rivers and Knicks General Manager Phil Jackson must be able to not only meet but to be willing to discuss the possible trade. The other is to confirm that Chris Paul (maybe Blake Griffin) must be fully committed to the Los Angeles Clippers organization. Carmelo Anthony does have a say-so to the team he could be traded to. If Chris Paul isn’t on the Clippers team after the start of free agency on July 1st, then it will be very unlikely that Carmelo will go to Los Angeles. The sides must make a fair clause and balance out the potential for this trade, for the Clippers to acquire Carmelo, they may have to have J.J. Redick agree to a sign and trade or another player or multiple players of the same value.

This will be a completely different off-season for both teams. Multiple situations may happen where this trade may go into effect or the trade may not happen at all. Time will only tell if their rumor turns into a huge storyline during this NBA off-season.

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