Where will Melo Go?
Carmelo Anthony might be one of the most underappreciated athletes in NBA history. As a 10x all-star, 4x Olympic Gold Medalist, and former #3 overall pick in the loaded 2003 NBA draft, Melo sure doesn’t get the same love as Lebron, Wade, or Bosh do. Why? Simple.
He has no ring.
However, Carmelo will always be one of the greatest scorers in NBA history. Which is why, at this stage in his career, he still holds so much trade value, even with his huge contract. From the dozens of suitors once rumored to be interested in acquiring Anthony, only a few remain in the hunt…kinda. Let’s take a look.
1. Portland Trailblazers
A very recent newcomer to the Carmelo Party, the Blazers are (possibly) in the league’s most desperate “win now” mode. Their franchise player, Damian Lillard, is in the prime of his underrated career. He has the perfect sidekick in CJ McCollum, a young, promising talent with a lot of upside. However, if you look up and down their roster, that’s about all they got. No offense to Allen Crabbe, Jusuf Nurkic, and Evan Turner — you guys aren’t bad. But when NBA players walk on the floor and hear your name called, they don’t get scared the way they do when they hear “Carmelo Anthony”. Carmelo does make some for Rip City. The Portland front office has a bad tendency to overpay role players (4y/70 mil for Turner, 4y/75 mil for Crabbe). This actually helps the Blazers; they can hold Melo’s heavy contract. But, that’s about it. In the trade, Portland would likely have to give up a lot of young talent and draft picks. This could be disastrous for the Blazers, especially if the experiment doesn’t work out. Also, adding another ball-dominant player in Anthony to Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum would create the problem of how many touches all three of them will get. Finally, Carmelo might not even want to play for them, and may refuse to waive his no-trade clause. Blazer fans, I’m sorry. Melo will probably not be in black and red next season.
2. Cleveland Cavaliers
Here we go. Cleveland really, really, REALLY needed to use this summer to have any chance at all to keep up with the Golden State Warriors. And what did they do? They signed 35-year-old Jose Calderon and 30-year-old Jeff Green. Listen, Jose, you know its bad when they give you the minimum and you’re STILL overpaid. Jeff Green isn’t a bad pickup, but he’s just not good enough. The Cavs have a major issue. They are over the cap. And I mean, wayyyy over. Like, 40 million dollars over. Carmelo has said that he would waive his no-trade clause to play for the Cavs. Problem is, the Cavs have no money. They can’t give up young assets or first-round picks, because they have none. And they can’t give up their bench players, or else it’ll weaken their roster even further. The only way to trade for Anthony is to trade Kevin Love. It’s that simple. And even if that does happen, I’m not so sure it will work. Carmelo would have to play the four. Yes, he’s strong and sturdy, but at six-foot-eight, it isn’t really an option. And don’t give me “Well, Draymond can do it.” Draymond built his career off of defense; Carmelo has built his off of offense. He has never been a defensive-minded player. The Cavs 22nd ranked defense will only get worse with Carmelo and without Love. And that’s not gonna get them past the Warriors, which is what Cleveland need to be focusing on.
3. Boston Celtics
Surprised? Don’t be. No matter how many stars Boston has on its roster, they will always look for more. Yes, they just landed Gordon Hayward, and yes, they play the same position, but this situation is different from Cleveland’s. Hayward could easily slide over to the two, which would help them with depth at that position after the departure of Avery Bradley. Financially, Boston is in no severe trouble (for now, Isaiah Thomas’s contract could pose questions, though). And, they have all of the young assets and picks to make it happen. Having said all that, this trade still won’t probably happen, for two reasons. One, Melo hasn’t said that he was willing to play for the Celtics, but seeing as how stacked the west is now, I don’t see why. Two, and the most important reason; Danny Ainge. Yes, okay, I know the trend. “Danny Ainge doesn’t like to get rid of young assets for some reason.” I know I’m not supposed to believe it, but…how can’t you believe it? Think about it. Ever since pulling the trigger on the deal with the Nets in 2013, what major trade has the Boston front office made? Exactly. And I don’t think that trend is going to end with Carmelo, because Boston should already have Carmelo. He should have been introduced as a Celtic at the same time as Gordon Hayward. But, because of Danny Ainge, he wasn’t. And he won’t be.
4. Phoenix Suns
Okay, this one might be a stretch, but hear me out. The Phoenix Suns are always under the radar during free agency. They always let the elite teams start out free agency, and then they snag solid role players to help develop their youngsters. Well, its about time they use some of those youngsters to get Carmelo and to kickstart their franchise again. Devin Booker might be the most promising young talent in the league. He has shown that he can put the ball in the basket. Problem is, he’s the only one who can do it consistently. Eric Bledsoe is a solid veteran, but his health is always a question. Brandon Knight is all over the place. He went from averaging near 20ppg last year to averaging 11ppg this year on 40% shooting and 32% from the three-point line. Booker needs some help, and Melo can provide it. If this trade happens, it may be enough to get them the 7th or 8th seed in this loaded Western Conference. There’s a major issue here, though; Carmelo definitely doesn’t want to play for Phoenix. It is highly unlikely they make it past the first round, barring major injury to an elite team. Anthony has repeatedly stated that he misses the feeling of winning and wants to go a team where he has a chance to compete for a title. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t feel that place is Phoenix.
5. Houston Rockets
The one you were waiting for: the Houston Rockets. The Rockets have been making moves all offseason, and I for one, cannot wait to see how they play next year, with two of the best passers in the NBA today. Houston definitely has the best chance out of all of these teams to land Melo. The money is there, Melo likes the idea of being in Houston with his banana boat pal Chris Paul, and they have just enough assets to give up and get Carmelo in return. Though it would have to be a three or four team deal, this is the most likely scenario for Carmelo, and I also think it is the one he would most enjoy. Sure, he could go to Lebron and be guaranteed a trip to the finals, but it wouldn’t be enough. If the Rockets actually do get Carmelo Anthony, they will have the best chance out of any NBA team to beat the Golden State Warriors. And I’m sure Carmelo likes the sound of that.