While we all await the (possibly?) inevitable Carmelo Anthony trade, one terrifying thought occupies the minds of the Knicks fans around the world: Which butt-nasty contract will the Knicks take back for Melo?
The folks at P&T Headquarters have been swapping horror stories for the past few days, with each of us holding on to a particular contract which haunts our respective nightmares.
These choices are not about any particular trade rumor, per se—except for Ryan Anderson, of course—but with a third and possibly fourth team involved, we can’t rule any of these out. And that is what we find truly horrific.
Alex Wolfe: Chandler Parsons (owed $23.1 million in ‘17-18, $24.1 million in ‘18-19, $25.1 million in ‘19-20)
Look, I know there's been no mention of the Grizzlies getting involved in the Knicks’ business. Mixing the boring, generally well-run, unspectacular Grizzlies and the wacky, splashy, cruddy Knicks in a basketball trade would be roughly equivalent to mixing ammonia and bleach to clean your bathroom--there's a greater-than-zero chance that someone might die. But this is just about bad contracts, and there is no contract worse than Parsons'.
“Wasn't he pretty good not that long ago?” you ask. Yes, I respond, but he went from 100 to zero real quick...real quick, r-real fuckin’ quick. (I just referenced Drake, put me out to pasture.) $20+ million this past year gave the Grizz 6.2 points per game, 2.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists. Parsons only played 32 games, and finished the season with a -16 net rating on a good team (which is atrocious). We all joke about the Joakim Noah contract being bad, but it could be worse. Soooooo much worse.
Jonathan Schulman: Ryan Anderson (owed $19.6 mil in 2017-18, $20.5 mil in 18-19, $21.3 mil in 19-20)
Well wouldn’t this be precious? By all vague and curious accounts, Ryan Anderson is the guy Houston has propelled into trade orbit. The Knicks apparently don’t want Anderson. Yet the Knicks are always so hasty to just-complete-the-damn-trade that I find this a legit worry. His contract would tie up one-fifth of any NBA team’s salary cap for the next three seasons, finally relenting in the 2020-21 offseason. I’m sure the Knicks could bid against themselves for an aging, defenseless power forward who is superfluous at his absolute apex next to Kristaps when this time comes. But thankfully that is a conversation for what I hope is an alternate universe’s another day.
So basically taking on this contract would have Anderson and Joakim Noah operating as two-fifths of your cap. Neither one of them deserving of starters minutes but both definitely siphoning minutes from two of the team’s brightest stars (you know who). This would also severely handicap the team’s ability to find help for the Flamingo in the ensuing years. That, of course, is if these two punctured tomato cans can even stay healthy during any of those years. Anderson has an extensive injury history, including a freaky neck injury that could have ended his career. On the bright side it might send Kristaps to the center position more often where—no doubt whatsoever—Anderson’s defensive liabilities will shotgun ball handler beers directly toward the kid to explode his block numbers up to uranium cake level. As soon as the Knicks receive Anderson they’ll start to consider trading picks and assets to get rid of him, and eventually it will come to pass. I can see it happening and that’s why this is the worst.
Dillon Dente: Omer Asik [owed 10.6 Million in 17/18, owed 12.2M in 18/19, owed 12M in 19/20 as an early termination option (pretty sure he's gonna cash that check and hobble off gingerly on that one)]
Sure, the numbers Asik is owed aren't as staggering as some of the other contract nightmares out there, but rest assured that New Orleans views Asik's contract as a hot potato; one they'll frantically try to hand off to anyone who shows even a slight interest in absorbing his now-dreadful agreement. He's already 30 years old, he strained his right calf three times in a year, and ended the season with some kind of viral infection (or maybe the Pelicans just listed him on the injury report as "virus to the salary cap" and it was lost in translation). Healthy or not (often times not), Asik can no longer defend, and with stretch 5s and stretch 4s on almost every NBA team, he's dead in the water on that end of the floor constantly. Offensively, he's never given much. Couple that with his aging body and career low from the field last season and the outlook is grim. On the fateful night of April 5th, 2013, he did shoot a 3-point field goal, but that would be the first and only attempt of his career, so he's not going to stretch the floor in any way for you (spoiler alert, he missed).
Asik only played in 31 games last year. He averaged 2.7 points, 5.3 rebounds per game, 0.3 blocks, shot 47% from the floor and 59% from the line. Three years left of eight-figure salaries, and it's no surprise that New Orleans has rumored interest in this salary-dump ripe trade proposal between the Knicks, Rockets, and necessary additional teams. Bruh.
Joe: Evan Turner (owed $17.1 million in 2017-18, $17.9 million in 2018-19, $18.6 million in 2019-20)
I'll argue with anyone that Turner's contract is worse than Joakim Noah's--they're the same basic deal in terms of money and years, but Turner is clearly the inferior player, Yes, he's worse than injured, old, suspended, can't-shoot-a-free-throw-to-save-his-life Noah. Turner has never had an above-average NBA season, by either PER or WS/48. He came closest in 2015-16 under Brad Stevens--pretty much the ideal role and coach for him--and he was still at least 15% below average in both metrics. He's a weird hodgepodge of non-elite skills (passing! some defense!) sewn together to create a Frankenstein's monster of suck. Plus, Phil Jackson supposedly loved him. I bet he would have traded Melo to the Blazers straight-up for Turner if Melo had been willing to waive his no-trade clause to go to Portland. Not missin' ya, Phil.