Cooking with Carmelo

Building a better contender

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The biggest story circulating this past week has been that of a potential Carmelo Anthony trade. The news broke that the Knicks attempted to trade Anthony to the Cavaliers for Kevin Love straight up and were promptly rejected (LOL). After taking stock of Anthony’s true market value and their own future goals, the Knicks began dealing with the Los Angeles Clippers and agreed to stay away from their core of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and Deandre Jordan. Put aside the fact that Phil Jackson is disgracing a former top-5 player in the NBA, one of the most prolific scorers the league has ever seen, and the face of the franchise for the last nearly 7 seasons with these very public trade talks, we decided to throw our own hats into the ring with some suggestions.

The key to a successful trade is finding partners with clear visions for their franchises in the near future. The Clippers are looking to be a contender right now, while the Knicks are looking to start rebuilding around Kristaps Porzingis. Yesterday, an ESPN report came out stating that the Knicks and Clippers are looking for a third team to complete their deal. Instead of wasting time considering other potential locations for Carmelo, we will assume that he is going to Los Angeles and just discuss the potential third player in these trades. There are two possibilities for this team’s goals by getting involved in this trade: they are either looking to bolster their roster and hopes of a deep playoff run, or they’re looking to acquire veteran talent to guide their younger core players. We will also avoid discussing what Carmelo brings to the Clippers because it’s obvious and don’t worry about his iso style causing issues for the Clippers because CP3 has got it handled (banana boat squad strong!).

  1. Indiana Pacers

Pacers: They’re just here to grease the wheels and get things moving. The Pacers want to get rid of Monta Ellis. He’s an aging scorer whose game hasn’t adjusted to the league’s new style as the three-pointer has become the new mid-range. He’s also, still, a bit of a ball hog who needs the ball in his hands to play offense. By moving Ellis and acquiring Thomas and Johnson, the Pacers acquire solid backups for Paul George and potential stretch 2s. The biggest incentive for them here is moving on from Ellis and removing his influence from the locker room, it’s less about what they are getting back for him.

Contender (6–8 seed, 2nd round potential)

Clippers: The Clippers have to give up at least 2/3 of Austin Rivers, Jamaal Crawford and J.J. Redick to make the trade work from a CBA standpoint. In this trade, they’re giving up all 3, but they’re also getting back a better version of Austin Rivers. Ellis is, as previously stated, a scorer first. His contract is smaller than both Rivers and Crawford, and the Clippers also save themselves from entering a bidding war over J.J. Redick when he becomes a free agent next season. If anyone can reign in Ellis’s attitude it is Chris Paul. I trust that anyone who plays with a player of Paul’s caliber and character is automatically better. The Clippers come away with a strong weapon in addition to Carmelo and replenishment for their now lacking guard position.

Knicks: The Knicks get exactly what they want. J.J. Redick is gone after this season, no question. Rivers is an above average scorer that can provide a spark either off the bench or help anchor a starting lineup. Crawford provides experience and veteran leadership to this team that will most likely be drafting somewhere in the lottery this season.

2. Cleveland Cavaliers

Cavaliers: LeBron gets his desired “playmaker”/ballhandler while giving up next to nothing. Shumpert’s defense may be missed, but in a 7 game series against the Warriors, it is doubtful that his defense would make much of an impact anyway.

Contender (Finals)

Clippers: The Clippers get a guard to replenish their depleted bench, one that also brings them a defensive element and championship experience.

Knicks: The Knicks drop Bass, Redick and Liggins after this season, leaving them with the young Austin Rivers who can be a valuable piece along with K.P. and whoever they draft this year.

3. Phoenix Suns

Suns: Once again, the biggest incentive for this team is addition by subtraction. They pay a small price for ridding themselves of a highly paid bench player and P.J. Tucker (who?).

Rebuilder (Stage 2)

Clippers: This trade seems ideal for them because they keep Jamaal Crawford who has proven to be a valuable piece for them.

Knicks: The Knicks get P.J.Tucker, who they’ve been eyeing for the past few months and hold onto Knight as a cheaper/younger/less selfish Derrick Rose. Knight could provide some veteran experience to the younger core that they’re hoping to build and anchor a bench group if they decide to hold on to him.

4. Toronto Raptors

Raptors: Crawford provides the bench depth they’ll need if they hope to compete with the Cavs in the Eastern Conference Finals. The price they pay is minimal and the payoff is large.

Contender (Eastern Conference Finals)

Clippers: They give up Rivers and Crawford but keep Redick. They’ve now lost a playmaker in Crawford and a bench scorer in Rivers but the addition more than compensates for those losses. Redick’s spot up three shooting would be useful as defenses are forced to double team one of the big 4, freeing him up for some of the cleanest looks he’s ever gotten.

Knicks: Young pieces to surround Porzingis.

5. Minnesota Timberwolves

Wolves: O’Quinn provides a solid backup for Karl-Anthony Towns, or a solid starting power forward if they choose to play him that way, and Crawford brings the veteran presence that Thibodeau has been seeking. His impact on Zach Lavine (and potentially Andrew Wiggins) will be big, think similar to KG’s impact on Towns last season. All they need to do now is get over the hump and they’re officially rebuilt.

Rebuild (Stage 3)

Clippers: Once again, they get a solid guard to replenish their empty reserve.

Knicks: Biggest winners here. Rubio is a cheap alternative to Rose and Rivers, once again, provides solid scoring ability. Redick is gone after this season. Fits their timeline the best, gives them young talent to guide their rebuild and backup their potential lottery pick.