Portland is a better fit for Carmelo Anthony than Houston or New York
For months, Carmelo Anthony has had a home in NBA trade rumors. With the season a few months away, Carmelo being traded is becoming more likely.
Of course, recent reports indicated that the New York Knicks would halt trade talks since they added Scott Perry as their new general manager. Moreover, Anthony was worried about a divorce with the Knicks impacting his legacy.
Then, another report indicated that New York hoped Anthony would add some more teams to his wish list. A no-trade clause limits where the Knicks can send the 33-year-old.
Thus, it appears there has been too much back and forth for Anthony to just go back to be the Knicks star. New York trading him seems like a foregone conclusion as they already had a deal at the two-yard line, per reports. What is the best trade option for Melo?
The Cavaliers are not satisfied with second place. They’re off a third-consecutive NBA Finals appearance but they want to add a championship piece that can help them beat the Golden State Warriors.
Still, the Cavaliers and Knicks couldn’t agree on Kevin Love and Anthony swap at the deadline. That appears to be off the table.
— Cavs Nation (@CavsNationNet) July 14, 2017
Hence, the Knicks would definitely take a loss by trading Carmelo to the Cavaliers. A third or fourth team would have to get in negotiations which made the deal even more complication.
Plus, how would Carmelo even fit the Cavs? Offensively, they would need to hope they are getting the Team USA version of Anthony. Melo would have to be happy as a catch and shoot player and a possible bench player. Kyrie Irving and LeBron James already dominate the ball in Cleveland.
Further, does a Love and Anthony front court win a championship on the defensive end? Arethe Cavs are willing to gamble on Melo uniting with friend LeBron James for a championship run.
Plus, Anthony gets to stay in the Eastern Conference where it is easier to make an NBA Finals and it is closer to his family in New York. Therefore, Cleveland could make sense for Anthony even if it isn’t the most logical fit.
A deal for Anthony to Houston came down to the two-year line according to reports. That doesn’t mean that it is dead.
Does Nene know something that we don't? pic.twitter.com/AVcIHLHA1v
— Space City Scoop (@SpaceCity_Scoop) July 10, 2017
The Rockets have far more appealing young players to entice the Knicks. Ryan Anderson is a shooter who could entice the Knicks. Eric Gordon and Trevor Ariza are also solid starters. However, all three players were keys to a resurgent Rockets team last year.
Not to mention, Houston may have to tempt New York with Clint Capela who is a young big man on a bargain deal. This is a way to keep the Knicks from completely getting used in a trade.
Either way, it would also pair Carmelo with MVP candidate James Harden and All-Star point guard Chris Paul. Both selfless passers could give Anthony the ball in great opportunities to score. They got to figure out how to play with each other first.
Nonetheless, NBA analyst and former head coach Jeff Van Gundy is skeptical of Anthony’s fit with Houston. He said that the Rockets don’t need more offensive help, which is Anthony’s best skill set. Van Gundy questions if Melo is a defensive upgrade over last year’s team.
Let’s also not forget that Anthony was a big reason current Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni did not succeed during his time with the Knicks. Could those two make it work a title run in Houston? If so Houston might be a good fit for Melo.
Thus far, Cleveland and Houston are the only teams that Anthony is willing to waive his no-trade clause for. However, he would be smart to strongly consider the Blazers.
Insert Portland as the team to most recently enter the Carmelo-sweepstakes, according to recent reports. The franchise believes adding Melo makes them a contender in the Western Conference.
Unlike the aforementioned team, Portland has the young assets to make a trade that helps the Knicks. 2017 first round draft picks Caleb Swanigan and Zach Collins are intriguing players the Knicks should want. Jake Layman is a second round pick who could also get thrown in.
Moreover, the Knicks could get their hands on Allen Crabbe or Evan Turner for scoring on the wings. Both have bloated contracts but they’re not worse than Joakim Noah‘s deal with the Knicks. Otherwise, Maurice Harkless, Meyers Leonard and Al-Farouq Aminu are players in their twenties who might spark the Knicks’ interest. Any combination of those players is probably better than what New York can get from Houston or Cleveland.
It should also be mentioned that Portland can deal for Melo without depleting their bench or starting lineup. They would still have C.J. McCollum and Damian Lillard as All-Star caliber players to pair with Melo. Both players have been overlooked for All-Star bids in the past but don’t let that fool you. McCollum, Lillard and Melo combine for a super team. That is enough shooting and firepower to match with anyone, including the Warriors, Oklahoma City Thunder and Cavs.
Over the past few seasons, Portland has not backed down to the juggernaut Warriors. Even when they lose, they keep the game competitive. Lillard is an Oakland native who loves playing the Warriors. His competitiveness will also hold Anthony accountable on both sides of the ball.
Additionally, the Trailblazers could make a deal without giving up starting center Jusuf Nurkic. He could make up for Anthony’s defensive liabilities. Harkless, Aminu, Crabbe and Ed Davis are also high-energy players that can help on defense, assuming they aren’t included in the deal.
This Portland team’s depth and athleticism are reminiscent of the playoffs teams that Anthony played on in New York and Denver. Both franchises surrounded him with athletic rebounders like Tyson Chandler and Amare Stoudemire in NYC and Kenyon Martin and Marcus Camby with the Nuggets. Carmelo also knows how to play with combo guards like Lillard and McCollum since he played with Chauncey Billups, Allen Iverson, and Derrick Rose over his career.
Hence, Portland is the super team that Melo should be considering. Apparently, McCollum agrees as he shared a picture of Anthony in a Blazers jersey on social media.
Don’t forget that Lillard and McCollum are also a younger duo than Harden and Paul or Kyrie and LeBron. Melo could compete for rings over the next seasons as he closes out his career.
In the end, it is difficult for the Knicks to move Carmelo Anthony anywhere. Still, it appears he will be the next piece to build a super team. Surprisingly, that ideal super team is in Portland and not Cleveland or Houston.
Remember, Houston and Cleveland were favorites for Jimmy Butler and Paul George but the Timberwolves and Thunder swooped them up out of nowhere. Granted, neither player held a no-trade clause like Melo, but it is a precedent to not count out the Trail Blazers.
Ultimately, Portland will help Carmelo compete with the Warriors and they can actually offer New York a fair trade. Like Portland, Cleveland and Houston might not beat Golden State with Anthony. However, Portland can offer Anthony a chance to leave New York for a ring chase, without completely leveling the franchise.