All summer, it had been rumored that the New York Knicks were shopping star Carmelo Anthony. While the Houston Rockets seemed to be the front-runner, given that Melo would waive his no-trade clause to be sent there, things stalled between the two teams. Then Friday came, when it was reported that Melo would accepted a deal to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
While Anthony ended up being traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder to join Russell Westbrook and Paul George, cleveland.com’s Joe Vardon reported that the Knicks offered Carmelo Anthony to the Cavs in exchange for Tristan Thompson (and others) but the deal was rejected by Cleveland’s front office.
The Knicks wanted Thompson, 26, a center who like James is represented by Rich Paul. The Cavs told them no. Thompson is under contract for three more seasons, beginning at $16.4 million this year. Cleveland was willing to do a deal that would’ve cleared some contracts off the books, such as sending Iman Shumpert ($11 million this year) and others.
With New York’s training camp set to begin this week, Anthony made it known to them that he wanted to be traded prior. Due to that, the Knicks had no leverage and began calling teams about a potential deal involving Anthony. Cleveland was one of the first teams they called given LeBron James’ friendship with Melo.
The Cavs only wanting to dump salaries for Melo and not wanting to trade away anything important, including Thompson, their first-round pick, and the Brooklyn Nets first-rounder this year, makes it seem like general manager Koby Altman and the rest of the coaching staff don’t want to trade away their assets or anything that could jeopardize the future of the Cavs unless they are getting a player of significance.
For Cleveland, it was an easy answer. The Knicks were stuck. With Melo basically demanding that he be traded prior to the start of the week, New York was in a tough spot. There’s no way the Cavs should have ever given up much for Anthony. And they didn’t.
While it would have been nice to add a player like Anthony, Thompson (and the others) that Cleveland would have been forced to do away with would have quite possibly been too much to overcome, both in the now and in the future.
An interesting tidbit: there are still some Cavs fans and people around the NBA who believe Thompson is overpaid, but this revelation appears to put the big man’s contract in a favorable light, given his versatility and ability to rebound.