Is Carmelo Anthony Going to be Traded?

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Carmelo Anthony (Photo Credit: Sergio Estrada/USA Today Sports)

For nearly Carmelo’s whole career in the New York Knicks, there has been many trade rumors about him being shipped out of New York.  During the trade deadline period of the 2010-11 season, Anthony was traded by the Nuggets to the Knicks, after publicly stating that that is where he wanted to play.  If we fast forward six and a half years into the future (aka now) after that trade, the Knicks are not in such great shape.  After leading the Knicks to three straight playoff appearances, they have now missed the playoffs four years in a row.  They have been unnecessarily overpaying their players, singing a 31 year old Joakim Noah to a 4 year/$72.6 million deal, Tim Hardaway Jr. to a 4 yr/$71 million deal, etc.  They have had 5 different head coaches in the past 6 1/2 seasons with Carmelo Anthony, and are no where near making the playoffs in a weakened Eastern Conference.

In this year’s offseason, there has been mostly trade talks of Knicks moving Anthony to the Rockets or the Cavaliers.  After all, he said that he would only remove his no trade clause if he was going to be traded to either of those two teams.  This trade may actually happen, especially since Brook Lopez finally got traded from the Nets so many years of rumors regarding him.  The rumors have been claiming that the Rockets and Knicks are nearing an agreement in a four team trade because of Anthony’s large contract, and the Knicks are not interested in paying Ryan Anderson’s contract.  On the financial side, this trade seems ridiculous.  Currently, the Rockets are about 15.3 million over the cap space, and they will have to make a lot of cap space to be able to pay Carmelo Anthony 26.2 million next season.  However, the other two teams have not been identified.  According to Stefan Bondy and Frank Isola of the New York Daily News, the Knicks-Rockets trade is at the “two yard line,” and the Knicks have claimed that Tim Hardaway Jr and Carmelo Anthony will not be playing together.   

After years of trade talk surrounding Carmelo Anthony, will this possibly be the trade where he leaves the Big Apple?  He is currently 33 years old, nearly out of his prime, and is in the forth year of his 5 yr/$124 million deal.  Last season, he averaged 22.4 ppg, which is his second lowest season average after joining the Knicks, and his 5.9 rpg, and 2.9 apg are a career low since he joined the Knicks.  He has a player efficiency rating of 17.95, ranked 66th in the league.  It would be nice to see how Anthony will play on a different team with a weaker role.  Instead of being a first or second option for scoring, Anthony would be either third or forth for options on scoring, behind Harden/Paul, or James/Irving.  He will be able to play more as a wing player knocking down open shots and driving to the lane, instead of being responsible for creating the team’s offense.  Even though he may not get the same amount of shot attempts that he had in New York, he would be playing around star playmakers that can create the offense, which will allow Melo to take better percentage shots, instead of shooting contested jumpers.

Since we have only heard news that trade talk are progressing between the Knicks and Rockets, how will this move help them?  Or most importantly, how can Anthony give them a chance against the defending champions?  With Anthony, Chris Paul, and James Harden, and offensive minded coach, Mike D’Antoni, the Rockets’ offense seems very star powered.  But on the other end of the court, they lack the same dominance on defense.  Even though Chris Paul earned All-Defensive First Team honors last year, James Harden has been notably known for “falling asleep” on defense, leaving his man open, and Carmelo Anthony fails to close out on his matchup, and is late on playing help defense when a teammate gets beaten. Joining another team may be Anthony’s only opportunity to win a ring, but it will be very difficult as they must beat the Golden State Warriors.

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