Either Carmelo Anthony is trying to get Cleveland Cavaliers fans really excited three days before Media Day or he didn’t want Cavs fans (and media members) to have a boring Friday night. Either way, he sure has created quite a Twitter storm.
In early August, Anthony declined to waive his no-trade clause in any deal involving the Cavs, so no deal could get done even if the Cavs and Knicks had one in place. But now, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that Melo has taken the Cavs off his no-trade list and would now welcome a trade to Cleveland. He added the Cavs as one of his possible trade destinations after the Knicks and Houston Rockets, who were once the favorite to land him, could not work out a deal.
After the Knicks insisted that they were unable to make a deal with the Houston Rockets, his primary trade destination, Anthony and his representatives honored New York’s request and furnished at least two more teams within the past 10 days, league sources told ESPN.
One of the known teams on the list, Cleveland, was part of Anthony’s original group of preferred destinations prior to Chris Paul’s trade to the Rockets in late June. The Rockets remain Anthony’s most desired location, but he’s worked to accommodate New York to try and find a trade before the start of the season, league sources said.
Although a deal that includes the 33-year-old being shipped to the Cavs seems far-fetched, the possibility it could happen seems to be at it’s highest point now that the Knicks seem somewhat desperate and Melo would accept a deal to Cleveland. People always rag on Melo for his defense—or lack thereof, but the star hasn’t been on a legitimate team in years. If he were to join the Cavs, he would not only be a better player as James’ go-to man, but he most likely would put in much more effort as well, considering a ring is on the line. He wants out of New York, who says his landing spot can’t be with the wine and gold?
Anthony has been urging the Knicks to show urgency in their pursuit of a trade before the season, league sources said. The Knicks made a preliminary call to the Cavaliers on Monday, but the two sides haven’t exchanged trade ideas, league sources told ESPN. Cleveland has to weigh the fact that Anthony, with two years, $54 million left on his contract, could opt into the $27.9 million in the final year of his deal for 2018-19 — when LeBron James could be gone in free agency, and Cleveland may be embarking on a rebuild.
One of James’ best friends since the years they played against one another in high school, Melo joining the Cavs could help the team’s chances of keeping the King next summer. Last season, Anthony averaged 22.4 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 2.9 assists in 34.3 minutes per game (his fewest since 2011-12) while shooting 43.4 percent from the field and 35.9 percent from long distance in 74 games. He had a 106.1 offensive rating and a 111.1 defensive rating. If he were to join the Cavs, he would not only have much less pressure to produce on offense, but Anthony would also receive a lot more open looks with so much talent around him. It would be a win-win for both he and the Cavs.
What are the Knicks looking to acquire in a deal that involves Melo, you ask?
New York had discussions with Houston, but has found no pathways to a deal, league sources said. Since the hiring of Scott Perry as general manager in July, New York changed course on the asking price for Anthony and have been pushing for a return of assets that Houston is unable to provide. Perry has been looking for a scoring wing to replace Anthony’s production, short-term contracts and draft assets, league sources said.
With the Brooklyn Nets’ first-round pick in 2018, the Cavs now have everything that New York seems to want.
At this point, it seems as though the Knicks have no leverage in any deal that involves them getting rid of Anthony. With that said, it seems as though if the Cavs want him, they can trade for him. It’s just a matter of matching salaries. Maybe, just maybe, Melo will be a Cavalier by the end of the weekend. It seems like a longshot, but with the Knicks seeming as desperate as they are, anything can happen.