According to the New York Daily News’ Frank Isola, Carmelo Anthony told Knicks boss Phil Jackson that he wants to remain in New York. Jackson and Carmelo met on Tuesday, with Jackson reportedly straight up asking him if he “still wanted to be a Knick?”
ESPN reported that no specific trades were discussed in the meeting and that both sides will “process the situation” in the coming days. In other words, Jackson will absolutely field calls for an Anthony trade in the coming weeks and if something sounds good he will then run it by Anthony. Anthony has a no trade clause, so he would have to approve of the destination.
The Knicks star would obviously love to join his buddy LeBron James in Cleveland, but the Cavs would need to do some unprecedented cap maneuvering to even entertain a Carmelo trade.
So, at the front of the line in trade discussions will be the team that’s at the front of the line in most every trade discussion for a big name player these days: the Boston Celtics.
The Celtics have already kicked the tires on a Carmelo trade as they reportedly reached out to Anthony’s reps about him waiving the no trade clause just prior to last year’s trade deadline.
Carmelo Anthony denied that he blocked a potential blockbuster deal to the Boston Celtics last week, telling the Daily News that Knicks management never approached him about waiving his no trade clause.
“No,” Anthony said late Wednesday in Indianapolis. “Heck no.”
“The News reported two weeks ago that the Celtics, Cavs and Knicks had engaged in preliminary discussions about a deal. Those talks never progressed, however, because Anthony had made it clear he did not want to be dealt.
On Wednesday, ESPN reported that the Celtics were dealing directly with the Knicks about a trade for Anthony that would have included a first round pick that originally belonged to the Brooklyn Nets. It is believed that an additional draft pick as well as David Lee’s expiring contract and another player would have been included in the deal.
Coincidentally, Celtics GM Danny Ainge revealed last week that he was on the verge of making a big deal that ultimately fell through. The Celtics were in talks with several teams, including the Rockets, Cavs, Hawks, Clippers and Knicks.
“We were very close,” Ainge told Boston radio station 98.5 The Sports Hub. “I can’t tell you the team or name, but it was very close. It’s something that we had been deliberating on for two straight days. The other team was doing that. And we were wrapping ourselves around a big package to do a deal. And at the very last minute, they just said they did not want to do it. They just backed out. It was a deal that was talked about, thought about, and that was probably the closest that we came.”
Anthony praised Boston as a good destination for free agents just a few weeks back, so it’s entirely possible that he could now be open for a move up I-95. Obviously at this point, Jackson would be on board with trading Anthony to the Celtics. Despite a tumultuous tenure as Knicks boss, Jackson showed the New York fan base that he can nail a high draft pick. Kristaps Porzingis has panned out and then some for the Knicks after being the fourth overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft.
Finally owning their own pick this coming June (which could be a top seven or eight pick if the Knicks keep falling), and having the Celtics’ 2017 Nets pick (which has a great chance of being a top three overall pick), the Knicks could set themselves up for a great future if they trade Anthony.
As for the Celtics and a Carmelo fit, the C's could absolutely use a top-of-the-line scorer at small forward (no offense, Jae Crowder ... really, no offense). While a team led by Isaiah Thomas (averaging an NBA-best 31.6 points per game over the last month) and Anthony would be brutal defensively, it would be a team that could score with absolutely anybody. A move for Carmelo would instantly make the Celtics legit contenders to knock off LeBron's Cavs in the East.
Are Lakers players for Carmelo?
Like the Celtics, the Lakers are a young, up-and-coming team that is one superstar away from contention. So like Boston, LA would jump at the chance to land a veteran scorer like Anthony, right?
On paper it may seem like a good fit, but given that Jackson and Lakers president Jeanie Buss just ended their engagement three weeks ago – they’re probably not game for long phone conversations right now.
Not only that, but the Lakers don’t have much in terms of draft picks to throw New York’s way and they are not interesting in trading any of their young studs in Brandon Ingram, D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle.