With the NBA trade deadline fast approaching, it looked like New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony was on his way to join his friend LeBron James on the Cavaliers. Carmelo and LeBron have been friends for years, so with the Knicks determined to offload Anthony, a deal with the Cav’s looked a distinct possibility. With the Knicks falling out of the playoff picture, the focus has, once again, switched to whether the Knicks will trade Carmelo, and where Anthony might end up.
Carmelo has a “no-trade” clause in his contract, but according to Uproxx, all may not be well behind the scenes. They suggest that Knicks president Phil Jackson may be feeding the gossip that claims Anthony’s legs have gone. That being the case, Yahoo! Sports is reporting that the Knicks have been reaching out to other teams in the hope that Carmelo will waive his no-trade agreement and accept a trade. They claim that Jackson is determined to push Anthony out.
“Phil Jackson is determined to find a destination and deal that Anthony would agree to accept before the Feb. 23 NBA trade deadline. Jackson is determined to rid the roster of Anthony and his contract, and start rebuilding around Kristaps Porzingis.”
Apparently, Jackson has reached out to the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Clippers, and Cleveland Cavaliers. There are even suggestions that Anthony could be traded to the Lakers.
As pointed out by Bleacher Report, the Lakers have not been major players in the NBA trade process, preferring to build their team around emerging talent like D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle. Many of the Lakers stars are on rookie contracts and bringing in a big name player like Carmelo Anthony might mean losing some of their young stars in the process.
Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak gave voice to those fears earlier this week.
“We’re not actively trying to do something. I would guess that we would not end up doing anything.”
“I’d hate to look to do something with our young players. I think our older players have given us great leadership. Some guys are on one-year contracts, which makes them more difficult to move.”
Of course, that doesn’t mean Anthony won’t end up at the Lakers, but at this stage, it looks unlikely.
If A Carmelo Anthony Trade Isn’t To The Cav’s Or The Lakers, Then Where?
Phil Jackson might be determined to shift Carmelo from the Knicks roster, but ultimately the decision must be made by Anthony himself. The no-trade clause in Carmelo’s contract means that he can’t be pushed out without his agreement, at least not without a massive pay-off to Anthony.
Anthony’ contract is worth almost $25 million this season, and his contract will land him a cool $54 million over the next two years. His current contract also gives Carmelo a 15 percent trade kick-back. Anthony also has a player option for the 2018-19 season. Buying out Carmelo’s contract to allow him to move as a free agent is not something the Knicks would do lightly, even if Jackson is determined to get rid of the nine-time NBA all-star player.
Anthony may be past his prime, but he continues to chalk up NBA records. Last month, Anthony became the 29th player in NBA history to score 23,000 career points. Carmelo has now moved to 26th on the all-time list. Just last week, Anthony scored a Knicks-record 25 points in the second quarter of a game against Washington Wizards. He may not be having the best season of his career, but Carmelo still knows where the basket is.
If Phil Jackson is determined to cut Carmelo Anthony from the Knicks roster, he needs to find a deal that will convince Anthony to break his no-trade deal. The most attractive deal for Anthony would probably be a move to the Cav’s, but the Cav’s determination to hold on to Kevin Love is a huge stumbling block to that deal. A move to the Cav’s to join LeBron James might just be to Anthony’s taste, but if it is to happen Jackson will need to find a way to circumvent the Kevin Love impasse.
[Featured Image by Tony Gutierrez/AP Images]