The Knicks are expected to re-open trade talks with the Clippers, though with different terms than the last time the two sides discussed a Carmelo Anthony deal. Instead of an Austin Rivers-centered proposal, which was reportedly on the table during the middle of the season, the Knicks would receive J.J. Redick via sign-and-trade.
While Redick is a great starter, that kind of package doesn’t seem to provide New York with the kind of return teams normally receive when trading away a star. Yet, it may be the franchise’s best option on the trade market. The Knicks will be hard-pressed to find a typical star trade offer —one laced with young prospects and favorable draft picks—because Anthony isn’t your typical star on the market. The small forward’s no-trade clause, contract, and age (he’ll turn 33 later this month) suppress his value in trade negotiations, as I discussed in his Trade Candidate piece. On top of all those factors, Phil Jackson further decreased Anthony’s trade value by declaring that star would be better off in a different uniform.
Rival teams will low-ball the Knicks this summer and if a deal materializes, the return will likely be underwhelming. However, New York should remember that it has the option of keeping Melo on the team, as Dan Favale of NBA Math writes. Favale notes that the 10-time All-Star has the support of Kristaps Porzingis and the duo plays well together on the court. Porzingis made 44.1% of his shots from behind the arc and 50.5% of them overall off of Anthony’s passes this season.
Favale also points out that Anthony plays well off the ball. Melo hit 41.8% of his catch-and-shoot opportunities behind the arc, a figure that ranks eighth in the league among players with at least 175 such attempts.
As Anthony glides further away from his prime, he’s going to have to play off the ball more for whichever team he’s on. If the Knicks keep him this summer and put him in that kind of role to begin the 2017/18 campaign, perhaps they can moderately rehabilitate his trade value (or even less likely: create a peace treaty between Anthony and Jackson that would allow Melo to stick around through the end of his deal).
The team will need to eventually rebuild around Porzingis and the haul it receives for Anthony will likely dictate the timeline on becoming a playoff contender again. Simply cutting bait with the soon to be 33-year-old by taking the best trade offer this offseason is the likeliest option for the Knicks. Is it the best option? Perhaps, but it’s not the only one and the Knicks are in no position to be closed-minded.
What should New York do with Anthony this summer? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below. We look forward to what you have to say!