As the February 23 trade deadline nears, Hoops Rumors will be taking a closer look at several players we consider trade candidates, discussing their value, speculating on potential destinations, and explaining why they are – or should be – available. These players won’t necessarily be dealt in advance of the deadline, but it won’t be surprising if they are.
Carmelo Anthony, F
New York Knicks
2016/17 salary: $24,559,380
Under contract through the 2018/19 season, though his deal contains an ETO for the final year
Trade restrictions: No-Trade Clause
The Knicks surprisingly beat the Spurs last weekend in what could be Carmelo Anthony’s final home game as a member of the team. New York doesn’t have another game before the February 23 trade deadline and while the odds are against an Anthony trade, if he were to be moved, it wouldn’t be the most shocking trade to happen this week.
How Did We Get Here?
It appears that team president Phil Jackson wants Anthony to play for another team, as evidenced by his disparagement of the 10-time All-Star. The Zen Master subtweeted the star and he allegedly had a hand in the article written by his close associate, Charley Rosen, which condemned Anthony. Rosen opined that Anthony’s legs had similar principles to a homerun leaving Yankee Stadium and he concluded his subjective piece with this sentiment: The only sure thing is that Carmelo Anthony has outlived his usefulness in New York.
Anthony still has plenty left in the tank. At age 32, he’s no longer the nimblest of athletes. When he drives at defenders, he powers into them at a controlled speed while always remaining a threat to stop and utilize his deadly jumpshot. He’s not going to rival LeBron James‘ all-around game on a nightly basis, but he’s still a top-30 player in the league and he’s one of the best on the offensive end.
There’s a recipe for constructing a winning Melo team, yet for the longest time, Jackson seemed disinterested in reading anyone else’s cookbook. Anthony needs to be surrounded by shooters along with a defensive anchor in the post while playing in a free-flowing offense. For over half of his tenure with the Knicks, Jackson insisted on the triangle, an offense which has principles installed in sets around the league but it hasn’t been successful as a standalone offense for quite some time. Kristaps Porzingis can develop into the team’s defensive anchor, but Jackson’s signing of Joakim Noah delays his development at the five. Additions Courtney Lee and Lance Thomas are good fits for the quintessential system, but Derrick Rose and Brandon Jennings are equally poor fits for it.
The mismatch of talent will likely lead New York to the lottery again this season. If this team was winning, the Jackson-Anthony estrangement might be blanketed, but that’s not the case, as our Reverse Standings indicate.
Why Trading Anthony Is Problematic
10:30 PM: The Knicks have discussed adding Ricky Rubio in talks with the Wolves, Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com reports (video link). Windhorst adds that Minnesota has had discussions with the Pistons regarding a Ricky Rubio-Reggie Jackson swap, but the Wolves are not interested in bringing Jackson aboard. A three-way trade that sends Rose to Minnesota, Rubio to Detroit and Jackson to New York could be in play, Windhorst adds. He notes that Rubio and Jackson are two of the players most likely to be traded before the deadline.
Minnesota doesn’t necessarily view Rose as a long-term fit, as the team wants to clear space for Kris Dunn and would like to get out of Rubio’s deal. The Spanish point guard has three years remaining on his contract, while Rose will be a free agent after the season.
10:14 PM: Several teams have reached out to the Knicks regarding a Derrick Rose trade, Ian Begley of ESPN.com reports. Begley adds the Wolves are among the teams to have discussions with the franchise.
It’s unclear what the Knicks would receive in return should they send Rose to Minnesota. New York acquired the point guard in the offseason with the hope that he would help the team get to the playoffs this season. The team is currently 23-34 after losing seven of their last 10 games and it appears the franchise will have a hard time achieving that goal.
Rose is averaging 17.7 points per game this season and he hasn’t missed any games because of the knee issues which plagued him over the past few years. He previously played for Wolves executive/coach Tom Thibodeau in Chicago for seven seasons.
The odds of the Knicks completing a trade this week involving Carmelo Anthony are very slim, a source tells Marc Berman of The New York Post. Anthony has said he prefers to remain with the Knicks through Thursday’s trade deadline, and that remains the most likely outcome.
Anthony, one of three players in the NBA with a formal no-trade clause in his contract, has been vocal about his preference to stick with New York. There are believed to be a small handful of teams, including the Cavaliers and Clippers, that Anthony might approve — Berman notes that Los Angeles is Carmelo’s preferred destination in a trade, and a weekend report indicated that the Cavs haven’t entirely closed the door on a possible deal. However, according to Berman, the Knicks haven’t discussed any trade scenarios with those teams that are attractive enough to make them ask their star forward to waive his no-trade clause.
Anthony, who participated in All-Star weekend after being named to the Eastern Conference team as a replacement for Kevin Love, was happy that trade rumors involving him appeared to be dying down and weren’t a constant topic of conversation in New Orleans.
“Leave it like that,” Anthony said, according to Berman. “Things I’m dealing with, it’s good not to hear me in the media like that. This weekend was more about focusing on this weekend, having fun and getting away from that for a couple of days. I was in the moment just focusing on being here.”
Assuming Anthony finishes the season with the Knicks, he’ll head into the summer with two years remaining on his contract with the club. The final year is an early termination option, so he’ll have the chance to opt out and become a free agent in 2018.
- The 2016/17 campaign has been a rough one for the Knicks but Marc Berman of the New York Post has quantified it anyway in a midseason report card. Receiving the best grade of the first half of the season is Willy Hernangomez, while Phil Jackson was graded ‘F’.
- Top free agents are unlikely to consider the Knicks, writes Al Iannazzone of Newsday, citing Kyle Lowry as one such example. Lowry is aware of the drama between Phil Jackson and Carmelo Anthony and Iannazzone suggests that could be a deterrent.
Knicks legend Willis Reed had an interesting take on the team’s leadership woes. The Hall of Famer suggested Phil Jackson take the helm as head coach, replacing Jeff Hornacek.
“Unfortunately for us as Knicks fans, if Phil Jackson had been coaching all year, we would’ve won more games,’’ Reed told Marc Berman of The New York Post. “His toughness and ability to make guys concentrate, that’s what I loved about him as a coach. He got guys to play harder and smarter…He’s got a history with Kobe, Jordan and Shaquille and made them champions.”
Reed was critical of Jackson’s inability to find a suitable head coach during his run as Knicks president, citing Mike Woodson, Derek Fisher, Kurt Rambis, and Hornacek as disappointments. Jackson’s most recent season as a head coach came with the Lakers in 2010/11, in which L.A. finished with a 57-25 record.
More from the Atlantic…
- Kevin Pelton of ESPN discussed Jahlil Okafor in a recent mailbag, calling the Pelicans the best fit for the former #3 overall pick. In the event that Okafor isn’t traded at the deadline, however, Pelton named the Bucks as a potential landing spot over the offseason. Milwaukee big man Greg Monroe may opt out of his contract, making Okafor a logical candidate to slide into his role.
- Brian Lewis of the New York Post handed out individual grades to the 9-47 Nets. Kenny Atkinson received a B-, as the rookie head coach has done a good job of keeping his players focused despite their gaudy record. GM Sean Marks was given a C+, largely due to his inability to capitalize on Yogi Ferrell‘s potential, and wasting $4MM on Greivis Vasquez.
- Warriors coach Steve Kerr gave props to the Celtics, saying Brad Stevens‘ squad is well-positioned for the future. “Because of the young talent, because of the coach [Brad Stevens] and because of the draft picks that they have coming up. They could end up with the number one pick in the draft, which is remarkable,” Kerr said. “Boston’s in a great place. I have a lot of respect for Brad and Danny [Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations] for what they’ve done and obviously, Isaiah Thomas. They’ve been a great story this year.”
- According to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders, the Raptors received assurances that Serge Ibaka would re-sign after the season. Ibaka, who has yet to make his team debut, will be expected to help lift Toronto out of their recent funk- entering the All-Star break having dropped six of their last 10. As Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders points out, if Toronto doesn’t retain Ibaka over the offseason, their cap space can expand to $21.2MM.
- Kristaps Porzingis has struggled to get on the same page as Derrick Rose, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. “We’re still trying to find that connection between us, where we know exactly where the guy’s going to be,’’ Porzingis said. “We have to get a really good feel for each other. That doesn’t happen overnight. We’re still trying to work on that.’’ An anonymous NBA source added fuel to the fire, observing “I don’t think Derrick is helping Porzingis’s growth, with his head down going to the basket, not really looking for him.’’
Anthony was planning a Caribbean vacation when he got the news that he would be replacing the injured Kevin Love in tonight’s game. He told reporters that he can’t get a refund on the trip and would have declined the invitation if the NBA permitted it.
Anthony had been planning to spend his time “evaluating” his long-running feud with Knicks president Phil Jackson and considering whether to waive his no-trade clause if the team can find a suitable deal. Trading Anthony won’t be easy because his salary is nearly $25MM, plus a trade kicker that brings the total up to about $28MM.
New York has reportedly had talks with the Clippers, Cavaliers and Celtics, but Anthony says Knicks management hasn’t spoken to him about the situation. He was non-committal Saturday when asked about his future.
“It would be up in the air,” Anthony said. “Something I have a problem thinking about it. To say I don’t think about it, I’d be wrong, I’d be lying to you. I think about it. Think about it a lot. I think about what’s best for me, what’s best for the organization and what’s out there. I think about that stuff.’’
Anthony, who has spent six years in New York, also stated that he plans to discuss any deals with his family before making a decision on the no-trade clause. He said his fellow All-Stars have been asking him about the situation since he arrived in New Orleans.
In a video interview, Wojnarowski says the teams have discussed a deal involving Butler, but talks haven’t progressed very far. He adds that Chicago officials have to to fully commit to the rebuilding process before they would be willing to give up Butler.
Wojnarowski says the trade would involve one of the Nets’ first-rounders — but probably not both — that Boston owns in the next two drafts. If the Bulls get this year’s pick, Wojnarowski states they can find a replacement for Derrick Rose, who was traded to the Knicks last summer. Washington’s Markelle Fultz and UCLA’s Lonzo Ball are point guards mentioned as likely choices at the top of the draft.
Teaming Butler with Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford would give the Celtics enough firepower to challenge Cleveland for supremacy in the East, Wojnarowski states, not just this season but for years to come.
Other highlights from the interview:
- The Clippers and Thunder are both potential landing spots for Nuggets forward Wilson Chandler. However, both teams are low on draft picks and may not have the assets that Denver would want in return.
- The Thunder were trying to acquire Kings forward Rudy Gay before a season-ending Achilles injury.
- The Wizards would like to add another wing player to their bench, with the Lakers‘ Lou Williams and the Nets‘ Bojan Bogdanovic as possibilities. Wojnarowski says Washington is willing to part with a draft pick to get veteran help.
- The Suns have been shopping P.J. Tucker, Tyson Chandler and Brandon Knight, hoping to get picks or young players in return.
- Chandler is one of several centers on the market, along with the Sixers‘ Jahlil Okafor, the Mavericks‘ Andrew Bogut, the Bucks‘ Greg Monroe and the Nets‘ Brook Lopez. However, there is limited interest in back-to-the basket centers. Wojnarowski speculates that one or two of them may be traded this week, but cautions that there aren’t enough buyers for all of them to be moved.
- Unless something changes, Carmelo Anthony will remain with the Knicks. New York management hasn’t presented him with any deals that would tempt him to waive his no-trade clause. Most of the teams that were interested in dealing for Anthony are now “looking in other directions,” but Wojnarowski thinks the Clippers might revisit their attempt to land Anthony this summer.
With the Knicks having slipped to 12th in the Eastern Conference, the team will have to decide during the All-Star break whether to look ahead to the future or to push for a playoff spot. According to Ian Begley of ESPN.com, multiple teams around the NBA view Derrick Rose as a potential trade target if the Knicks do decide to sell.
Rose, 28, isn’t the same player he was earlier in his career when he won the MVP award — as Begley writes, the veteran point guard hasn’t been all that effective as a defender or a distributor. Still, Rose has averaged 17.7 PPG with his best shooting percentage (46.2%) since 2009/10, and has shown he still excels at penetrating the lane.
While Rose may draw interest from a few teams, it would be tricky to find a deal that works for both the Knicks and a trade partner. Rose is earning more than $21.3MM this season, so over-the-cap teams looking to acquire him would have to be willing to part with one or two substantial contracts of their own. Meanwhile, the Knicks will have some cap room this summer when Rose comes off the books, so they won’t want to take back long-term salary unless they get a player that can become part of the team’s long-term plans.
Although they haven’t given up on the postseason yet, the Knicks figure to get some calls about Rose in the coming days and it would make sense for the team to listen. Phil Jackson and the front office reportedly want to build the roster around Kristaps Porzingis and Willy Hernangomez, and while Carmelo Anthony‘s no-trade clause figures to prevent the club from moving him, Rose doesn’t have that same ability to veto a deal.
- Charles Oakley doubts his issues with Knicks owner James Dolan will ever be resolved, Newsday’s Jim Baumbach relays via a Sports Illustrated interview. Despite a meeting with commissioner Adam Silver and Dolan earlier this week, Oakley is still fuming over his forcible removal from Madison Square Garden and arrest on February 8th. “My life is going to change a lot because it’s just like getting a DUI sometime or going to jail for murder,” he told SI. “It’s something on my record. If you Google my name, it’s going to come up. And that hurts.”