NBA Trade Talk: Carmelo Anthony Trade Matches If He, Jeremy Lin Can't Coexist
With Linsanity going full steam ahead, people have started to wonder whether Carmelo Anthony can fit into this new Knicks team featuring Jeremy Lin. I think the answer is a resounding yes. However, many seem to believe the Knicks should trade Carmelo Anthony.
So let me make it very clear. I DO NOT THINK THE KNICKS SHOULD TRADE CARMELO ANTHONY.
We all know how fun the trade machine on ESPN.com can be. If you do not then you are missing out. Here are some trades I created on the old machine. Remember that if you want to trade Anthony, you are not going to trade for a player similar Carmelo Anthony (i.e. Rudy Gay).
If you want to trade Anthony, it is because of fit and that means that any trade has to bring back either increased perimeter defense and/or increased perimeter shooting. Second, to make sure these trades straddle the line between inane and rather unlikely, you have to consider the teams that would take on Carmelo.
The teams would have to either:
2) Believe they are an elite offensive force away from being a contender.
3) Believe that they could not attract free agents to their teams purely based on the market and need a bona fide star to recruit other big name free agents.
Just so we are crystal clear, I don't want to trade Anthony and the chance that any of these trades happening is about 3,720 to 1. (Never tell me the actual odds.)
Carmelo Antony for Andre Iguodala and Nikola Vucevic
The Philadelphia 76ers are built to win a postseason series. The problem is that with the current roster, that is the team's ceiling. Playing 100 percent every game matters in the regular season as teams take nights off, but in the playoffs, nobody takes nights off.
The answer? Bring in the best all-around scorer in the NBA and one of, if not the, best scoring closer in all of basketball.
For the Knicks, Andre Iguodala brings some of the best perimeter defense in the NBA and a guy who does not need to score to be effective. Nikola Vucevic gives the Knicks a young cheap center to backup Tyson Chandler and increase the frontcourt depth.
Tyson Chandler candidly remarked during last year's title run with the Dallas Mavericks that he could play defense with reckless abandon because if he got into foul trouble, Brendan Haywood was a quality backup center.
If the Knicks want a change in philosophy at the small forward position, Andre Iguodala, who kills from three-point range, would be the ideal player.
Why this won't happen?
First, it is hard to see any Carmelo Anthony trade the Knicks would be willing to make, as you will get 50 cents on the dollar most likely. Second, Philadelphia needs to get a quality scoring threat, but they want to get someone on the interior. They want to find a way to get scoring production that once upon a time they thought Elton Brand was going to give them.
And there is no way the Knicks could take Jrue Holiday or Lou Williams in this deal. Of all their players other than Igoudala, Philadelphia probably values them the most.
Carmelo Anthony for Gerald Wallace and Marcus Camby
Essentially, the same logic for Philadelphia goes into the trade with the Portland Trail Blazers.
However, in this case it's a take more realistic. Gerald Wallace provides the Knicks with energy, rebounding, and physical defense at the small forward position. While not the perimeter defender Iguodala is, Wallace is a superior rebounder and is far more effective defending post players.
Marcus Camby was the easiest way to make salaries match, and I'm sentimental to see Camby return to New York. He'll provide some depth in the frontcourt that the Knicks will need in the playoffs.
Since Brandon Roy's knees gave out on him, the Trail Blazers have lacked a scoring threat from the perimeter. They have LaMarcus Aldridge, so interior scoring is not a problem for this team. This team is also comfortable in halfcourt sets (much for that Philadelphia). By getting Carmelo Anthony, they find that offensive threat on the perimeter.
Jamal Crawford can be the guy who anchors that second unit, and going up against bench players should make him more efficient. In a wide open Western Conference, Portland would be swinging for the fences with this trade.
However, two big problems in this deal exist for Portland. First, they rely on Marcus Camby to play 20 minutes at center, and that gives Aldridge those length and height advantages against other power forwards. Also, their front office loves the hustle and play of Gerald Wallace.
From the perspective of the Knicks, Gerald Wallace really does most of his scoring in the paint. With Tyson Chandler and Amare Stoudamire, teams are already clogging the middle to stop them. He provides little to no perimeter shooting. Therefore, his man will not think twice to provide help defense.
Carmelo Anthony, Landry Fields, and Renaldo Balkman for Paul Pierce, Ray Allen
The Boston Celtics are heading into a new era. The Paul Pierce-Ray Allen-Kevin Garnett era will be remembered more for the bad luck that prevented them from winning three titles than for the one they won. Both Kevin Garnett's injury in 2009 and Kendrick Perkins' knee injury in the 2010 NBA Finals prevented them from winning the title.
Now, they have to look to the future. Unlike New York or the Los Angeles Lakers, the Celtics have never attracted a star/superstar type player through free agency. No one has demanded a trade to Boston because they wanted to play in Boston (K.G. would only accept a trade/extension with the Celtics after Danny Ainge made the move to get Ray Allen).
That means that Boston needs to be find a way to bring a star to Boston that is already under contract to help bring in other players. Enter Carmelo Anthony.
The biggest problem with the Celtics is that when teams smother them on defense, they have no answer. Kevin Garnett is not the athletic face-up or pick-n-roll player he once was. Paul Pierce can only get by with his veteran savvy against the better perimeter defenders. Ray Allen cannot create his own shot like he once could.
Rajon Rondo cannot shoot, and he cannot hit from the free throw line. Carmelo Anthony gives the Celtics an offensive stud to pair with Rondo. That also means that the Celtics could have enough room for a max contract. Now you could go after Dwight Howard.
If Dallas goes after Deron Williams, then best case scenario is they can offer Dwight a near max contract. And that's only possible if Dallas trades Shawn Marion or Brendan Haywood and amnesties the other. So Boston could end up the most attractive landing spot for Dwight if he makes it to free agency.
For the Knicks, they push their chips all in as Pierce and Allen are in the twilight of their career. In terms of the style, Mike D'Antoni wants to play, this is perfect. Pierce and Allen are terrific perimeter shooters and will allow Tyson Chandler and Amare Stoudemire plenty of space in the paint.
The problem becomes that the window for this team becomes a lot smaller. If the offense breaks down, then you are asking Jeremy Lin to create something out of nothing. That's a lot to ask of Lin, but you'd have to as Pierce, Allen and Chandler all have difficulty creating their own offense.
Also, if the Knicks are not successful in the playoffs, Ray Allen could leave to play on another contender while Paul Pierce makes $16 million for each of the next two seasons. You also have to worry about Pierce's ability to stay healthy and his commitment to New York as he voiced his desire to be a Celtic for life.
This could actually be the most realistic of the trades I conceived. That is, unless Boston is under the illusion that they can go after Howard as they are now or they think they have a title run in them.
Carmelo Anthony for Luol Deng, Jimmy Butler, John Lucas, and Brain Scalbrine
Carlos Boozer is not worth the contract the Chicago Bulls gave him. He has not turned into that reliable second option on offense and has shrunk against the Heat also every time the two teams play. They need someone who can create their own shot and take some of the pressure off Derrick Rose on offense. That is why the Bulls would trade for Carmelo Anthony.
Luol Deng gives the Knicks that change in philosophy at the small forward if they wanted to trade Anthony. With his improvement from the three-point line, he serves as a better all-around fit for the Knicks than Gerald Wallace, Andre Iguodala, or Paul Pierce.
Jimmy Butler and Brian Scalabrine are in the trade to satisfy the salary rules, and Butler will be buried in the wing rotation the Knicks have.
John Lucas would serve as a backup point guard. Anybody not named Mike Bibby (except Gilbert Arenas) would be an upgrade. Why no C.J. Watson? Because that would make this trade even more outlandish.
The Chicago Bulls view both Deng and Joakim Noah as the lynchpins of their defensive plans. Carmelo does not fill in the void on defense that Luol Deng's departure would create. In fact, the Bulls are probably looking to make a trade for a sharpshooting 2-guard who is not the defensive liability that Kyle Korver is. I don't see how Chicago makes this trade.
For the Knicks, it is a drop in talent for the purposes of a better potential fit. However, like all of the other trades, it leaves the Knicks without a player who is world class at creating his own shot when playoff defenses ruin the offensive flow of the team. To ask Jeremy Lin, Landry Fields or Ian Shumpert to be able to create something out of nothing is ridiculous.