The Carmelo Anthony trade rumors have started their annual bustling. The oft-mentioned trade to Cleveland for Kevin Love has finally been shot down by the Cavaliers’ brass. Coming off the franchise’s first NBA Title, the team doesn’t need a big shake up like that and adding another ball stopper to their already iso-heavy offense never made much sense, anyway.
So now the rumor mill has turned west – to the LA Clippers, to be specific. A Melo-for-Blake Griffin swap makes financial and positional sense, but team autocrat Doc Rivers has dispelled any indication of trading one of the squad’s Big 3. This has led to the ever present “just add a third team” argument. But it’s not that simple.
Excluding Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, and DeAndre Jordan from any trade makes it nearly impossible to come up with equal value for Carmelo Anthony. The next best player on the team, JJ Redick, is on an expiring contract. So without an agreement from him to resign in the offseason, his value to the Knicks is greatly diminished. Austin Rivers holds the most value after that, but he’s never been anything more than an inconsistent role player. Oh, and the coach and GM of the Clippers is his father, which might make trading for him a bit messy. Beyond that, any draft pick the Clippers give up would fall at the bottom of the first round, undercutting its potential value.
In the best case scenario – Redick agrees to resign and Doc agrees to trade his son – is that even close to equal value for Melo? I understand New York’s eagerness to move on without Carmelo, but they won’t just give him away. “Add a third team,” you say. Well what team is giving up equal value for Carmelo Anthony if all they’re getting in return is a package centered around JJ Redick and Austin Rivers? Remember what New York gave up to get Carmelo in the first place? Multiple young, exciting players and a first round pick. No one is giving that up for Redick and Rivers. In this environment, you’d be hard pressed to even get a single high first round pick for that package.
Los Angeles doesn’t have enough talent to send away in a trade if they aren’t including one of their three best players, plain and simple. It doesn’t matter if those players get routed through a third party – that doesn’t increase their value. Other teams around the league have far better packages to offer. Boston can beat that without batting an eye. Even if Melo said he would only waive his no-trade clause for the Clippers, New York would be more likely to hold onto Melo than give him up for this package. Carmelo to the Clippers is a fun headline, but the Knicks would have to get desperate for this to actually materialize.
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