Since the end of the 2012-13 season, we've heard a whole lot about Carmelo Anthony's impending 2014 Free Agency.
Personally, I think he'll simply pursue the course of action that 95% of us expect. Opt out, then sign a five year max deal, which I believe would take him to into his age 34 season. I would be absolutely thrilled if Melo re-upped. He's the best scorer in the league and although it may not show up on the stat sheet via assist totals, he makes his teammates better too. There has been talk of how a max contract for the aging star could cripple the Knicks in the future. However, I see Melo's game aging like fine wine. He's not someone who has ever been over reliant on his athleticism (Dwyane Wade), and although he's suffered a couple minor injuries here and there in his tenure with his club, he's ultimately been quite durable. Teams like the '08 Celtics and the '11 Mavs both won championships behind Finals MVP's who serve as interesting comps to what an "old" Carmelo might resemble in the future.
But what if there really is a chance he leaves? I say the chances of him leaving are 5%. However, i'd look to trade him if there was anything more than a 25% chance of him leaving. The Knicks can not afford to get Decision'd or Dwightmare'd. If Carmelo were to leave, the Knicks are totally unprepared for a rebuild. Their roster says"win-now," and the only player with any actual trade value in 2014-15 would be Tyson Chandler on an expiring contract and Shump, who would serve as the team's only young asset. Furthermore, the Knicks owe future first round picks across the league. Before I continue, let me just say I truly think all these rumors are total B.S. and I absolutely think Melo is staying for the long haul. Additionally, there probably isn't any way the organization could gauge whether or not the chance of him leaving is greater than 25%. That said, let's make some fake trades.
Coming up with trade ideas proved to be very difficult. You have writers like Zach Lowe saying they might only fetch Pau Gasol's expiring deal (total B.S.) and you have me, who thinks Carmelo is the third best player in the league. I tried to keep it somewhat realistic (somewhat being the keyword), so here goes.
Trade Scenario 1 - The Gamble
The crazy Kings look to make a splash and new ownership is umm.... silly(?) enough to gamble on convincing Melo to stay. The Knicks grab high upside, but perhaps too expensive after extending for the max Boogie Cousins and heralded rookie Ben Mclemore. They take on John Salmons albatross to make the salaries match, but since his deal expires in 2015 with the rest of the team, it's not such a hard pill to swallow. G. Vazquez is a solid guard who likely has a nice future as a very solid 3rd guard for a good team.
NOTE - I could also see the Celtics getting involved in such a scenario where Boogie would go to Boston and Rajon Rondo would head to New York.
Trade Scenario 2 - The Overrated
The Knicks send Melo westward to play with CAA buddy CP3. The Clippers truly transform into a contender and the Knicks get back one of the most exciting players in the league, Blake Griffin. Obviously, the Knicks downgrade severely as a unit. I'm not a fan of Blake Griffin. To me, he's one of the most exciting players in the league, but certainly not one of the best. He'll never be elite until he learns how to consistently hit FT's since he's not a game changing defender (or Center) like Dwight Howard (there is no correlation between FT's and D i know, but in Dwight's case, his D at least makes up for his horrendous FT shooting and allows him to stay on the floor in crunch time). But he's still very young and has a ton of upside. Can he be elite? Perhaps. Is he elite. Lol. I don't like this deal, but it's the most realistic one I came up with.
Trade Scenario 3 - The HOLY FUCK THIS INSANE AND I KNOW IT... AND ESPN WOULD DRIVE ITSELF INTO A BLACK HOLE
Lots to break down. First, the Lakers get what they want because, Lakers. All they have to do is send Pau's expiring and Nash's corpse elsewhere and take on the Gerald Wallace albatross. Celtics get rid of the Gerald Wallace albatross and add an aging ineffective PG that might be willing to accept a buyout, or at the very least, make the rebuild more entertaining. They get our beloved Shump and add the intriguing Derrick Williams who might find new life in a new situation where he'll no longer be scrapping for minutes behind K-Love. Minnesota perhaps coming to terms with the fact that K-Love might leave as soon as his contract expires in 2015, panic and try to get something splashy back (Rubio+Pau SPANISH CONNECTION!). They decide Derrick Williams is not in the plans and not worth extending. The Knicks... well they certainly maximize Melo's value. This trade shafts the C's and TimberPups, but it's certainly intriguing, eh?
SO what do ya'll think? I'm interested to hear what you guys come up with. Once again, I can't stress this enough, I love Melo, I think he's the 3rd best player in the league (I think you guys can guess who the first two guys are), and I don't want to see him traded. BUT, if the Knicks believe there is a reasonable chance he leaves this offseason, they need to get something for him NOW. Looking forward to a great, fun, phenomenal year. Go Knicks!