By John Schmeelk
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We’ve written ad nauseam about Carmelo Anthony’s future and about what might transpire that would force the Knicks to trade him. If those things do come to pass (which would be a bad situation for the Knicks) here are some possible landing places in the Eastern Conference. They are all unlikely, but something that might work for both teams. It’s also important to note these are not rumors, but rather scenarios that work financially for both sides inside the CBA, and could be feasible in a theoretical world.
Chicago Bulls send the expiring contracts of Carlos Boozer, Kirk Hinrich the Bobcats’ 2014 first-round pick (protected 1-10, 1-8 in 2015 or unprotected in 2016), and their own 2016 first-round pick for Anthony.
Why? If Derrick Rose ever comes back healthy, the Bulls have one of the best teams in the league with Melo, Rose, Joakim Noah protecting the rim and Jimmy Butler playing defense on the wing. It is a big market for Anthony and a place where he can win right away. The Bulls have compiled a lot of draft picks in coming years that can be used as chips in trades.
Why not? Melo does not want to try to live up to the legacy of Michael Jordan. The Bulls, very wary of paying the luxury tax, would keep their salary level rather high for years to come. It might be a red line they are not willing to cross.
Charlotte Bobcats send Bismack Biyombo, the expiring contracts of Ramon Sessions and Ben Gordon to the Knicks for Anthony. The Knicks also receive the Pistons’ first-round pick, which the Bobcats have the rights to in 2014 (protected 1-8, only protected No. 1 in 2015, unprotected in 2016), and their 2014 and 2015 second-round picks. (Note: Charlotte also owns Portland’s 2014 first-round pick, so that can also be discussed, as could the Bobcats’ 2016 first-round pick.)
Why? Anthony is a Jordan brand guy and I think he could be convinced to play for Jordan’s franchise long-term. Or at the very least I’m sure Jordan believes this. With Al Jefferson at center, a quality wing defender in Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, a young Cody Zeller and Kemba Walker, the Bobcats have some upside. With a real point guard, which they could add with some cap space next season, the Bobcats (led by up-and-coming coach Steve Clifford) could be in the mix in the Eastern Conference.
Why not? Anthony does not believe Charlotte is anywhere near a title, and Charlotte isn’t a big enough city to be a star in. He tells Jordan this and the trade goes down the toilet.
Atlanta Hawks send Paul Millsap, Louis Williams, DeMarre Carroll and their 2014 and 2016 first-round picks for Anthony.
Why? The Knicks take on three contracts that go for two seasons, which will make Anthony’s contract more palatable for the Hawks. The Knicks still get their cap space in the 2015 offseason and they get two first-round picks that replaced the picks they have traded away. Atlanta might be a place that Anthony would want to stay long-term because of a center in Al Horford, point guard in Jeff Teague and shooter in Kyle Korver.
Why not? The Hawks might be scared away without a guarantee that Anthony would stay there long-term. They might also not like giving away Williams, who could help as a bench scorer with Anthony as a starter. In that case, they could substitute Elton Brand into the trade.
I thought the Cleveland Cavaliers could have been an option for Anthony, but since they cannot trade Luol Deng in a package before the trade deadline, it is too hard to match up short-term salaries to add up to Anthony’s contract number. The Cavaliers have first-round draft picks to trade, as well as young talent (Tristan Thompson, Bennett Waiters, Sergey Karasev), but unless the Knicks want to take on salary going into the 2015 offseason, I don’t think a trade is going to work. The Cavs could have dreamed about pairing Anthony with Kyrie Irving and then trying to entice LeBron James to come home after the season to join for the newest superstar trio in the sport.
The Detroit Pistons are a team with plenty of expiring salary to offer for Anthony, but they do not have their 2014 first-round pick (could go to Charlotte), so there isn’t anything of enough value they can offer the Knicks. The only thing that could work is if the Knicks want to commit their future salary-cap space to Greg Monroe to pair with Anthony. Then again, I don’t think the Pistons would make that trade (since the chance of Anthony staying in Detroit are slim) so there really wasn’t a fit.
The Washington Wizards could have been an excellent fit as well, but with the team’s first-round pick in 2014 potentially going to Phoenix, it makes putting a package together that would entice the Knicks very difficult. If they could set something up to get the Knicks a 2014 first-round pick, this conversation could change. I would have considered this a real dark horse since Melo could have played right near his real hometown and get his max contract at the same time. He would also have a real star point guard in John Wall to play with.
On Friday I’ll go through some Western Conference teams that could be potential landing points for Anthony.
You can follow me on Twitter @Schmeelk for everything Knicks, Giants, Yankees and the world of sports.
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