1:25pm: The Knicks and Clippers have discussed the idea of an Anthony trade that wouldn’t involve any of L.A.’s Big Three, according to Frank Isola of The New York Daily News. The Knicks are open to that possibility, though it wouldn’t be easy, since the Clippers have a hard cap and can’t afford to add much salary. As noted below, the team has also traded away multiple future first-round picks already.
Isola also points out that even if the Clippers were to put Griffin on the table in trade talks (and there’s no indication the team would do so), the Knicks wouldn’t be able to acquire him as long as Derrick Rose is on their roster. The league’s CBA prohibits teams from carrying two players on maximum-salary, designated-player rookie scale extensions, which describes both Griffin’s contract and Rose’s.
11:45am: In addition to having contacted the Cavaliers to discuss a potential Carmelo Anthony trade, the Knicks have also reached out to the Clippers and Celtics to “probe their interest” in a possible deal involving Anthony, according to Adrian Wojnarowski and Chris Mannix of The Vertical.
League sources tell Wojnarowski and Mannix that Knicks president Phil Jackson is “determined to find a destination and deal that Anthony would agree to accept.” The nine-time All-Star is one of three NBA players with a formal no-trade clause in his contract, and has repeatedly expressed a preference to remain with the Knicks. However, Anthony has also acknowledged that if the Knicks wanted to rebuild and came to him with a proposal, he’d be open to considering it.
Although Jackson reportedly told Anthony earlier this month that he doesn’t subscribe to criticisms put forth by his longtime friend Charley Rosen in a recent column, Wojnarowski and Mannix hear from league sources that the Knicks president would like to move Anthony and begin rebuilding around Kristaps Porzingis.
According to The Vertical, the Clippers are a team that would interest Anthony, though it’s not clear if the Clips and Knicks would be able to work out a trade that makes sense for both sides. Los Angeles likely wouldn’t be willing to part ways with one of its Big Three – Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan – and the Clippers have already traded multiple future first-round picks — 2021’s pick would be the earliest one they could move.
As for the Celtics, they’d have an easier time putting together a suitable trade package, since they’re loaded with young players and draft picks. However, GM Danny Ainge has long been considered averse to giving up many of those assets unless he can land a superstar. Anthony would have fit that bill in the past, but he’ll turn 33 this spring, and his production has declined a little in recent years, so he may not be the sort of big fish the C’s want to land.
In addition to the fact that he’ll have to approve any deal, Anthony will also be tricky to trade because of his contract. Including this season, Carmelo has three years and $78.7MM+ on his deal, and his salary would increase substantially if he’s dealt, since the contract features a 15% trade kicker. Any team hoping to acquire him would have to send back significant salary to the Knicks, who will be reluctant to absorb too many multiyear contracts if they want to open up cap room for the coming summer.
Still, despite the potential roadblocks, it appears the Knicks would like to make a move with Anthony in the coming weeks, and with his name continually popping up in trade rumors, the Syracuse product may be more inclined to sign off on a deal. This will be a situation worth monitoring closely as we approach February 23’s trade deadline.