I have been working on variations of this article for a while now. Coming up with a headline proved especially difficult — I wanted so badly to write something to the effect of “No, the Knicks aren’t trading Carmelo Anthony to the Clippers, because they have no assets,” but then I realized we’re talking about the league’s pettiest franchise and pettiest team president.
In a world governed by logic, there’s no way the Clippers could be involved in a straight-up Melo trade. Doc Rivers won’t part with Blake Griffin (who would have to agree to a sign-and-trade anyway, as he will be a free agent this summer), and they have nothing else to offer other than Austin Rivers and a first-round pick in (at earliest) 2021. So...that’s the end of that, right?
Then Marc Berman of the New York Post dropped the most absurd trade proposal I have ever seen from a professional writer Friday morning. Are you sitting down? Please sit down for this:
According to some league executives, the only deal that makes sense for both sides is packaging Redick, combo guard Austin Rivers and adding wing man Wesley Johnson for financial purposes in exchange for Anthony and perhaps one of the Knicks’ two second-round picks in next month’s draft. At the trade deadline, the Clippers’ offer of Rivers and 37-year-old Jamal Crawford was turned down by the Knicks.
“It’s really the only thing that makes sense,’’ one front-office type said.
Another NBA executive believes the Knicks would do well in such an arrangement.
“It’s a great deal for the Knicks — they get a shooter they need [Redick], Rivers is a perfect sixth man and even Wesley is long and athletic and a great locker-room guy,’’ the executive said. “It’s a solid trade for them. They haven’t been able to win with Melo.’’
Let’s unpack this, shall we?
- The headliner of this trade for Melo—still the Knicks’ best player—is being described as “the perfect sixth man.” Austin Rivers is a useful player, but c’mon...perfect sixth man?
- The Knicks—who would be rebuilding at this stage, I assume—are supposed to extend JJ Redick, who is one month younger than Melo.
- Wesley Johnson averaged 2.7 points last season on 36.5% shooting. You know who else is a great locker-room guy, beloved by teammates and so respected around the league that he sits on the board of the Players’ Association? Carmelo Anthony.
- The Knicks...would give up...a draft pick.
I didn’t think it was possible to craft a trade that would cost the Knicks more than it would to simply release Melo, so congratulations I guess! Signing Redick to a long-term deal and chipping in a pick would be more damaging to the Knicks.
The kicker here is that, while it would be so easy to dismiss this as another Berman #TakeThatMasaiUjiri moment, his connections with New York’s front office make it difficult to ignore. Certainly the “They haven’t been able to win with Melo” line sounds like it could have come straight from Phil Jackson. I doubt Doc Rivers has the balls to utter such a line considering his final season in Boston was ended in the first round by...Carmelo Anthony’s New York Knicks.
Which brings me around to my first point: This may be a barrage of bullshit, but the stench drifting from MSG is familiar. Phil Jackson might just be stubborn and reckless enough to zero in on one organization without even looking for better deals from clubs for which Melo might consider waiving his no-trade clause. I still believe Melo is mature enough not to hand Phil a “Clippers or bust” ultimatum...and we must never forget that he has never actually said that he plans to waive his no-trade clause. If Melo must go, then there has to be something better than this. Does anybody associated with the Knicks care, though?