Carmelo Anthony is one of the top scorers in the NBA and ever since he was selected 3rd overall by the Denver Nuggets in 2003, he’s been compared to the rest of his draft classmates throughout the majority of his career. The other four men selected in the top 5 of the 2003 class (LeBron James, Darko Milicic, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade) have all won NBA championships. Melo has not.
The window is closing for one of the top players in the league and the Knicks have to decide whether to move on from Anthony and allow him to chase that elusive ring with a championship contender. Anthony is currently in the middle of a five-year contract that is set to expire after the 2018-19 season. In that contract is a no-trade clause, but this clause can be waived. Melo has stated that he would like to remain a Knick for the rest of his career, but if Phil Jackson doesn’t want him in New York then “that’s a conversation we should have”. It’s also understood that Melo would only accept a trade to either the Cleveland Cavaliers or the Los Angeles Clippers, two teams who are decent shots at winning the NBA title.
But should the Knicks trade Melo? In short, no.
It’s more of a matter of which team will actually trade for Carmelo Anthony mid-season. Mid-season trades are risky moves because although they create solid roster depth, it could ruin teammate chemistry and kill any momentum a team has. Especially with someone like Melo, who would immediately take on a starting role on a new team. Would this hurt either the Cavs’ big 3 or the Clippers’ big 3? Another reason why teams shouldn’t go after Melo is because the Knicks will ask for too much in return for Melo’s hefty contract. At this point, if the Cavs or Clippers manage to gain Carmelo without having to trade any of their stars then that’s a hard-earned bargain. But who would trade for a one-dimensional player that has only made the conference finals once in his career?
Expectations were high for a Knicks squad containing Melo, Kristaps Porzingis, Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Courtney Lee and Brandon Jennings heading into this season. But currently, the Knicks are 11th in the Eastern Conference standings with an 18-24 record, three games out of 8th position in the East. What does this say about Melo as a leader? His inability to lead a talented outfit to success is sure to dampen his illustrious career.
The window is closing on Melo’s chase for a ring and if the Knicks pull the trigger and end up trading him, the best option may be the Clippers. And I’m not just saying that because I’m a Clippers fan. The Clippers have lacked offense out of the small forward position, opting to start a solid defensive player in Luc Mbah a Moute. The best scorers out of that position are when the Clippers go small and play Austin Rivers or Jamal Crawford at the position, but other than that there is a lack of consistency. This is where Melo would come in. He would get to play with one of his best friends in Chris Paul, whose window to gain a championship ring is also closing and despite Melo’s tendency to hold onto the ball and shoot at will, you would think Melo would allow CP3 to play the point and become the playmaking star Melo has lacked in his career as of late. For the Clippers, Melo would be another offensive weapon other than Blake Griffin in the post, DeAndre Jordan in the air or JJ Redick from outside. It immediately makes Los Angeles the most dangerous offensive side in the league.
However, this trade is highly unlikely to happen because the Knicks would ask for too much in return. If they want a successful trade without trading Paul, Griffin or Jordan, the Clips could send Jamal Crawford, Wesley Johnson and maybe the aging Paul Pierce as a package. (And yeah, this trade was successful on ESPN’s trade machine).
But this is me dreaming here. The reality is that Melo should remain on the Knicks and fans will need to be patient. We’re just over halfway through the NBA season, so there’s a lot of time for New York to make ground up in the standings. Also, rather than focusing on getting rid of their star player, why not consider what to do about Phil Jackson or Jeff Hornacek? Ever since they became involved with the Knicks, the triangle offense hasn’t worked particularly well with Melo and Rose, while players are struggling to put their trust in Coach Hornacek. New York needs to find the problem and fast, because the window for Carmelo Anthony’s first NBA championship is about to be closed shut.