While the Knicks and Carmelo Anthony appear to be headed for a nasty offseason split, the No. 1-seeded Boston Celtics suddenly find themselves faced with the very real possibility of an unkind, abrupt exit from postseason play, which would leave both franchises in a state of flux heading into the 2017-18 season.
So what does one have to do with the other?
According to a report from the New York Post’s Marc Berman, the two rival franchises might be able to help each other with their respective issues and facilitate a trade for Anthony this offseason that would rid him from the Knicks and give the Celtics the extra firepower they need to win in the Eastern Conference.
Trade talks surrounding Anthony to Boston were originally reported around this year’s trade deadline, but they ultimately stalled as the Celtics seemed to be in prime postseason position without giving up key players or draft picks to acquire the Knicks’ star forward.
However, Berman reports that the Celtics might be experiencing a change of heart due to their first-round difficulties with the No. 8-seeded Chicago Bulls.
“According to an NBA source, the Celtics coaching staff was in favor of trading for Anthony at the trade deadline, but general manager Danny Ainge had too many reservations. One of Ainge’s concerns, according to a source, was an Anthony trade would have given Boston no real cap space to work with for the 2017 free-agent class.
With the top-seeded Celtics possibly on their way to getting swept by the eighth-seeded Bulls, Ainge’s thoughts on adding Anthony could change this July.”
The Celtics have a bunch of contracts set to come off their books this offseason — Amir Johnson ($12 million), Tyler Zeller ($8 million), Jonas Jerebko ($5 million), Gerald Green ($1.4 million) — and would have no problem adding Anthony’s contract to their payroll.
Still, there are a number of potential roadblocks.
Ultimately, Ainge and the Celtics will likely try their luck in the free agent market before trading numerous assets to acquire Anthony. They’re also reportedly interested in going after Jazz star Gordon Hayward in the offseason, which would make a trade for Anthony highly unlikely.
Additionally, Anthony still has a no-trade clause and two years remaining on his five-year, $124 million contract.
Still, Knicks president Phil Jackson has made his feelings about wanting to move on without Anthony clear, and the Celtics are two games away from facing a long offseason full of questions.
This could potentially be an answer for both parties.