While we enjoy our holiday time with family and friends a giant question mark looms in Knicks land. Will Melo opt out, and if they think he will can the Knicks trade him before the deadline to a team that will allow them to receive maximum in return? One team that seems the most logical fit is LA, not the Lakers but the LA Clippers. Remember the toast at Melo’s wedding? Well, this could actually be the final step towards that toast, only the union will not be in New York as expected but in LALA land with the Clippers and with Doc Rivers at the helm. Could this really happen?
While free agency is a long way away and there is lots of basketball left to be played, the team that most fans and media peg as Anthony’s likely destination is the LA Lakers, however insiders around the Knicks and Carmelo peg the LA Clippers as more likely to land Anthony if he leaves the Knicks. Openly suggesting the Knicks and Clippers would try and consummate a trade at the trade deadline to insure LA has the rights to Anthony.
If Anthony is traded, there are no assurances that he’d opt-out of the final $23.3 million left on his contract, making him not nearly as risky a trade as some might think especially if he is traded where he wants to be long-term. In fact, the acquiring team could make Anthony opting in as terms of a trade.
This scenario would devastate Knicks land, but the reality is that if Melo is going to bolt the Big Apple and set up shop in sunny LA then the Knicks must get what they can from the Clippers or risk losing Melo for nothing. What can they get?
Player combinations like DeAndre Jordan, Jamal Crawford, Blake Griffin and 1 and/or 2 first round picks are options to pick from, but do any of these players really help NY rebuild after the Melo era? I am not sure they do.
Jordan could be a nice building block and must be a part of any trade, but a player like Griffin I am not interested in. He is soft, immature, and his outside shot is very raw at best. Players like Jamal Crawford are a nice fit, but the Knicks are deep with volume shooters and their major needs are at PG and PF.
A package of Jordan, Crawford, Darren Collison and 2 first rounders over the next 4 years could do it, but what do the Knicks really get out of that? They get a starting center until 2015 when his contract expires. This allows them to trade Tyson to a contender and get back a 1st rounder and maybe some young talent along with expiring contracts (see my previous proposal).
Adding Crawford gives NY a SG that has been here before, and can definitely play at a high level, although he is a volume shooter. However, I would much rather have Jamal in this position that J.R. This allows NY to try to trade either Shump or J.R. in a package for young talent and/or expiring contracts.
Getting Daren Collison is not a “wow factor” move, but his PG skills gives the Knicks more competition at that position. This would also allow the Knicks to trade Felton in a package with the previous players I mentioned above. Pablo could then take over the starting duties and Darren could be the back-up, along with the tutelage of Toure’ Murry at PG to become a role player on this team for the future. We must develop our young talent.
The 1 or 2 first rounders they will receive in this deal would give the Knicks some assets along with their own picks they have in 2015 and 17. Adding picks to a team that seems to trade them away at the drop of a hat is mandatory in any trade of any player on this team going forward.
So assuming Melo wants out and the Knicks green light a trade, finding the proper deal will be harder than you think if you want to maximize your return. Otherwise you will be selling Melo for 50 cents on the dollar and that’s a lose-lose situation for NY.