Carmelo Anthony Reportedly Was Trade Target for Celtics Prior to Deadline

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistFebruary 25, 2016

New York Knicks' Carmelo Anthony plays during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Minnesota TimberwolvesSaturday, Feb. 20, 2016, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Jim Mone/Associated Press

The Boston Celtics reportedly showed interest in New York Knicks superstar Carmelo Anthony before the NBA's trade deadline last week.

Ian Begley of ESPN reported it's unclear what type of discussions may have occurred between the Eastern Conference rivals before the deadline passed. He noted the Celtics were simply made aware Anthony didn't want to leave the Knicks to join them.  

His stance doesn't come as a surprise. Steve Popper of the Record passed along comments from the 31-year-old Syracuse product in the days leading up to the deadline, and Anthony made it clear his ultimate goal is bringing a title to New York:

Doing it in New York is better than doing it any place in the world. One [championship] in New York is better than multiple somewhere else. That was the reason I wanted to come to New York. That's the reason I'm in New York. It just bothers me when I start hearing all these trade rumors and trade talks.

While it's unknown what the Celtics may have offered for Anthony, draft picks to jump-start a Knicks rebuilding effort would have probably been the centerpiece. Real GM notes Boston has a boatload of picks over the next few years, including three first-round selections in 2016.

From there, it would have come down to making the salaries work under the cap. Anthony sports a $22.88 million cap hit for the current campaign, and it steadily rises to just under $28 million by 2018-19, according to Spotrac.

The idea of adding him to the equation makes sense for Boston on the surface. It features an extremely well-rounded roster that's racked up a 33-25 record so far, good for third in the Eastern Conference. But the team doesn't have a prototypical go-to scorer.

Trading for Anthony would have filled that void and taken some pressure off the likes of Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley at the offensive end.

That said, it's fair to wonder how adding a shoot-first player like Anthony would have worked. The Celtics already rank ninth in offensive efficiency, per ESPN. Even picking up a former scoring champ could only improve that by so much, and there would have been a negative impact on the team's defense.

So, when you combine those factors with the assets Boston would have needed to part with to make a deal work, Anthony staying in New York is perhaps better for the Celtics in the long run.