Cavaliers, Headlines

Knicks wanted Tristan Thompson (and others) for Carmelo Anthony

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.

  • woofersus

    I don’t think Tristan Thompson’s contract is all that huge after recent salary cap expansion, but I do think he’s a guy they could (and should) consider moving along with a pick if they want to get better this year. He has a big enough salary to facilitate a trade and he’s only useful as a complimentary piece, which makes his contract an enemy to flexibility if things blow up next offseason. That said, I don’t think I would have traded (and others?) for Melo either, because I think Melo has a limited ability to actually make the team better, and once you’ve made that trade, you lose a movable contract that can help facilitate a better trade mid-season and/or land a pick if that’s the future.

    Melo is good still – I’m not saying he isn’t. But he’s not better than Love at this point, and he’s not a center, and given we have Lebron already, there’s not a clear opening for his minutes without losing some matchup flexibility. The combination of Lebron, Love, and Crowder covers the range of scenarios where you’d want Melo’s skill set most of the time. I just don’t think he improves the team all that much at this point. There will be other, better targets.

    Note: If the Cavs truly had a chance to get Melo (the Knicks did well getting Canter, IMO) and they declined, that took some guts with Wade on the loose and CP3 a free agent next year. I know Lebron probably would have wanted them to do it, but pursuing that future is the wrong move for this year and next. A banana boat team with CP3, Melo, Wade, and Lebron in 2018-19 is not a championship team.

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  • scripty

    Last year he was the 13th highest paid center. So no, he’s not overpaid at all.

  • woofersus

    Not overpaid, but not a very “high value” contract, I don’t think. I doubt they could easily flip him for high picks next year if things go that way. (you could with Love, for example) At the same time, it’s a big enough contract to facilitate salary matching for somebody more desirable if bundled with a pick. And if Lebron leaves and you’ve gotten rid of Thompson’s contract as well, they could get far enough under the cap to go after a max player to pair with Love if that’s what they really wanted to do.

    Maybe I’m wrong and he has more trade value than I think, but I do think it adds flexibility for next year if you move him for one of the potential 2018 free agent stars, so the Cavs can either be the front runner to resign that guy if Lebron is staying, or be free of the contracts if he is leaving.

  • Chris

    Thompson makes more in 2017-18 than Kluber, Carrasco, Ramirez, and Lindor make this season combined.

    Nice job Rich Paul. Nice job Indians.