I’ve been surprised how often this has come up lately. During radio talk show interviews, in emails, I even had a friend ask me:
Are the Knicks trading Carmelo Anthony?
Not even close.
I’m not sure how this delusion even became a talking point. Yes, the Knicks do know Anthony can opt out of his contract this summer, and they do know that this season’s struggles has opened his mind to considering his other options.
However the Knicks reaction to this is to find a way to make Anthony happy and keep him a Knick, not trade him away for pennies on the dollar and rebuild. Why do you think owner James Dolan recently skipped band rehearsal (or whatever he was doing) to come down to the locker room and meet with Anthony and take his temperature on coach Mike Woodson? Because what Anthony wants Anthony gets right now. He is the organization’s priority. Everyone else on the roster could be moved for an upgrade — I’m looking at you, Iman Shumpert — but not Anthony.
Don’t take my word for it, here is Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports, in his recent power rankings.
There is “no chance” the Knicks will deal Carmelo Anthony, who owns a contract opt-out this summer, before the trade deadline, a source said.
Besides, the Knicks know if they tried to trade Anthony they couldn’t get anything near value back. Offers would be lowballs. Nobody is sending a young, elite player back to the Knicks for Anthony. Did you really read the story when the ridiculous-from-the-start Anthony for Blake Griffin rumor got thrown out there — the two teams hadn’t even discussed it, this was an internal Knicks conversation. I don’t think people outside Los Angeles grasp how invested in Blake Griffin the Clippers are — he is the face of the team marketing more than Chris Paul, he is the last player introduced, he is the fan favorite. After a long history of blown draft picks the Clippers finally got one right and he is their guy. They will not move him, certainly not for Anthony.
The reality is the Knicks are going to make whatever roster moves they can this summer and they will sell Anthony on the future (particularly 2015), on the extra $30 million guaranteed, and they will sell him on ending his career a Knicks’ legend. And he will probably take it. (The Lakers idea isn’t happening, they are lukewarm on adding him next to Kobe Bryant; and while the Bulls idea is more interesting on paper it is far from likely. After that, well, he is not going anywhere else to a non-major market.)
There are a lot of interesting names out there for trades before Feb. 20: Pau Gasol, Arron Afflalo, Thaddeus Young, Brandon Bass, Spencer Hawes, Marvin Williams and more. Some, not all, but some of those guys will be moved before Feb. 20.
Let’s focus on them and stop talking about Anthony. Please.