What was once speculation has now turned into truth; Carmelo Anthony wants out of the New York Knicks organization. And it’s pretty hard to blame him. With a furious NBA off-season to this point, the incoming Carmelo trade could once again shake up the league. After going through one of the darkest periods in Knicks history, it’s time for Anthony to chase a championship. There’s already multiple reports that Anthony wants to go to the Houston Rockets, but we’re going to look at five potential destinations for the 33-year-old out of Syracuse.
Lets begin with the most obvious choice, being that Anthony has reportedly asked to be dealt to the Houston Rockets and join James Harden and Chris Paul in attempting to take down the Golden State Warriors. While Anthony’s $26.2 million salary next season is hefty, the Rockets are able to take on the contract if they’re willing to dip into the luxury tax. With no true starting small forward on the roster to begin with, Anthony is a great fit for the Rockets. On the receiving end, the Knicks will be inquiring about Eric Gordon, but if the Rockets can play their cards right, they can probably snag Carmelo for next year’s first round pick and a prospect, seeing as Carmelo’s trade rumors are beginning to become public, and the Knicks are losing value fast in terms of what they can get for their star forward. For Anthony, this is a chance he’s been waiting for, a chance to compete for a ring. Obviously, the Golden State Warriors are the clear-cut favourites to repeat as NBA Champions next season, but with Anthony on the team, the Rockets are a legitimate contender to dethrone the Warriors.
Now we get into the fringe landing destinations; teams that have had some rumors swirling, but not nearly as much as the Rockets have. We begin with the Cleveland Cavaliers, who have took on those Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals for the past three seasons. While there isn’t necessarily a ‘need’ for Anthony’s skill set, there have been some talks that the Cavs organization is unhappy with the production of power forward Kevin Love. He had some good games in the finals last year, but overall he hasn’t made the impact the Cavaliers hoped when they dealt Andrew Wiggins to the Timberwolves for him. If the Cavaliers are looking for some more offence out of their four, Carmelo could slide into the position and help the Cavs march back to the Finals and take another crack at the defending champs. This trade ultimately comes down to if Cleveland is willing to part ways with Love or not. For the Knicks, this is probably the best return they’re going to get from anyone, so they should pounce on it if the Cavaliers do open up talks.
Portland Trail Blazers
Another team that’s had some interest around the league, but none directly from Anthony or the Knicks has been the Portland Trail Blazers. The Blazers, who are desperate for some more star power behind Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, haven’t had a big, scoring threat since LaMarcus Aldridge left Portland in free agency to join the San Antonio Spurs in 2015. The Blazers had hoped to fill the void at SF through free agency last summer by signing Evan Turner, but he’s been arguably one of the worst contracts in the NBA so far, and Allen Crabbe simply doesn’t have the size or defensive awareness to be a starting small forward. The New York Knicks are never strapped for cash, so they could easily take on the contracts of Allen Crabbe and/or Evan Turner, plus they would get a first round pick out of the deal as well. In Portland, Jake Layman looks promising in terms of being a starting three in the NBA one day, and getting some help from Carmelo in his early years could benefit the Blazers down the road. In terms of competitiveness, the Blazers might not be as high on the radar as the Rockets or the Cavaliers, but if those teams aren’t a fit for him, the Blazers are still a much better place to be than in New York right now. Plus, I wouldn’t mind seeing my team pick up a ten time all-star.
Now we’re getting to the more low-end side of things, a shot in the dark if you will. Teams that would make sense for Anthony, but haven’t really been brought up as a potential destination for Carmelo. First, the Miami Heat. The Heat were in serious discussion to land Gordon Hayward before he chose to go to the Boston Celtics, and with Carmelo on the team, the Heat would be in the mix of the eastern conference’s elite. With Goran Dragic, Hassan Whiteside and Dion Waiters joining him in the starting line-up, the Heat would have an underrated, yet powerful team. Again, the Heat aren’t perennial championship contenders, but with Carmelo’s services, this definitely puts them into a top-4 situation in a pretty weak eastern conference, and again, anything is better than New York at this point for Anthony. The location factor always helps the Heat as well, and if the Heat can’t crack the east’s best, at least Carmelo has some nice beaches and casinos to spend his spare time at. Obviously, basketball comes first for Anthony, and he wants to win, but you can’t tell me players are upset when they’re told they have been dealt to Miami. The Heat don’t have a whole lot to try and bargain with, other than future first round picks, but again, with Carmelo’s age and contract, the deal can still be done.
Lastly, another team affected by the Gordon Hayward decision; the team he left. Last season, the Utah Jazz finished tied for fourth in the western conference with 51 wins, which is very impressive for that group. Now, the team takes a definite step backward with the departure of their star small forward. The best solution? Pick up another star small forward. With plenty of young, rising talent, Anthony would provide veteran leadership, something that was missing last season. A lot of things would have to fall into place for the Jazz to get a chance at landing Carmelo, but positionally, the move makes perfect sense. In terms of what the Knicks would receive, the Jazz’s 2018 1st round pick would almost certainly be in play, along with a combination of Alec Burks, Joe Johnson and Ricky Rubio. Again, this is a long shot, but something that’s not entirely out of the question.
With Carmelo Anthony’s age, contract status and uncertainty, teams can get the star small forward for a pretty good price. And for the Knicks, Anthony’s trade value is dropping by the day, and it’s time to get Carmelo out of New York while you can still get something for him.
Where do you think Carmelo is headed? Let us know in the comments below!