NBA trade rumors are nothing new to New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony and Los Angeles Clippers power forward Blake Griffin. Yibada reports that the Clippers would be Anthony's top choice if he was traded by the Knicks, and that Griffin would be a likely part of any deal with Los Angeles involving Carmelo Anthony. According to the Sporting News, the Boston Celtics are targeting Blake Griffin in the trade market, as they continue to work on a potential deal to add another impact player to their roster.
CBS Sports opines that the Celtics may have the best group of trade assets in the NBA in terms of being able to make a major deal for a star player. Small forward Jae Crowder, power forward Amir Johnson, point guard Marcus Smart, and the two first-round picks that Boston has the rights to via Brooklyn are all prominently mentioned as probable trade chips if the Celtics swing a deal prior to the NBA trade deadline in February.
The latest NBA trade rumors are promoting the possibility of a blockbuster swap between the Boston Celtics, New York Knicks, and Los Angeles Clippers. The parameters of this rumored proposal are as follows: the Celtics would receive Blake Griffin, small forward Wes Johnson, and combo guard Sasha Vujacic. The Knicks would come away with a haul that includes Jae Crowder, Amir Johnson, Marcus Smart, and the Nets' first-round draft pick in 2018. The Clippers would round out the festivities by acquiring Carmelo Anthony.
This appears to be a roughly even trade for the Boston Celtics, as they would enjoy an upgrade at power forward with Blake Griffin, but suffer a downgrade at small forward. Wes Johnson would probably be the starter if this trade goes down (rookie Jaylen Brown doesn't seem ready for that large of a role), but Johnson has been a major disappointment since coming into the league as the fourth overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft. Additionally, Griffin is injured, but Rotoworld shares that his rehab is going well and he is expected back within a week or two.
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The New York Knicks can't seem to get anywhere with Carmelo Anthony as their star player, and he would be replaced in this scenario by Jae Crowder. Crowder is not the offensive threat that Anthony is, but Crowder is a significantly better defender, per ESPN's NBA Real Plus-Minus statistics, which is one of the Knicks' biggest weaknesses as a team. Amir Johnson would be a very good backup for Kristaps Porzingis, but Marcus Smart would have to battle Brandon Jennings for playing time off the bench at lead guard. Brooklyn's 2018 first-round draft pick is likely to be high in the lottery, so that asset could hold a great deal of value for New York.
This hypothetical transaction would essentially be a swap of Blake Griffin for Carmelo Anthony from the Los Angeles Clippers' point of view. This deal would greatly increase the team's firepower from the small forward position, but it would have a similar negative impact at power forward as journeyman Brandon Bass would replace Griffin. Blake Griffin can terminate his contract after the current NBA season, and that certainly has to be taken into consideration. Anthony has two years remaining on his deal before he can also opt out of the final year in 2018-19.
The first team to say no to this theoretical offer would appear to be the Clippers. Carmelo Anthony is a very talented player, but he has the reputation of not being able to make his teams better (in part because he is very indifferent on the defensive end of the floor). Given this scenario, Los Angeles would probably hold onto Blake Griffin and try to re-sign him if he opts out of his current contract -- and with the new Collective Bargaining Agreement in place, the Clippers would have the inside track on retaining Griffin with a max contract offer.
The Celtics and the Knicks would both give consideration to this offering from the latest batch of NBA trade rumors, and each team would have solid reasons to accept this rumored proposal -- although that decision could go either way for Boston or New York. The bottom line in this situation is that no NBA team seems interested in trading a superstar for Carmelo Anthony, and that would be a deal-killer in this instance.
[Featured Image by Mark J. Terrill/AP Images]