Hypothetical Trade 2: Melo Waives No Trade?

A trade so “out-there” that it might actually work…

With this year’s NBA Draft less than 24-hours away, we have seen and are still expecting a frenzy of trades and dealings that include players changing jerseys and future picks being protected. In the past week, we have seen more wheeling and dealing than normal for this period of time between the last game of The Finals and draft night. Before Commissioner Silver walks on stage Thursday night, the Celtics and Lakers could no longer be picking in the top-5 while the Vivek Ranadive and Vlade — my favorite owner and GM combination — could possibly have traded away both of their top-10 picks along with half of their first-round picks in the upcoming decade for another center or aging point guard or both.

Before I go deeper into my hypothetical trade, I just wanted to comment on a post I wrote a couple of weeks ago about a potential trade between the Celtics and Sixers. On behalf of all the true basketball fans, I just want to thank Danny Ainge and Bryan Colangelo for brokering this clever, yet fair, trade that allows two potential stars, in Markelle Fultz and Josh Jackson, to join teams that better suite their styles of play.

This trade is another example of the Celtics adding another asset to their war chest, which could possibly be used to make a run at Jimmy Butler or Paul George; on the other hand, in making this deal, the Sixers did not end “The Process” to get not only this draft’s best player but also the best fit for their current roster. At this moment, it appears the fruits of Sam Hinkie’s value investor approach are beginning to reap the rewards that Philadelphia deserves. In the end, this trade allowed for two franchises to re-evaluate their expectations for the upcoming years along with better position each organization to win now.

Now, onto some more internet noise that might cause Michael Rapaport to create another YouTube rant.

New York Receives: LaMarcus Aldridge and San Antonio’s 2017 1st Round Selection (29th Overall)

San Antonio Receives: Carmelo Anthony and New York’s 2017 1st Round Selection (8th Overall)

Why Does New York Do This? The Knickerbockers complete this trade for two main reasons: first, to get rid of Carmelo Anthony; second, to get rid of Carmelo Anthony. This deal is done to get Carmelo as far way from 8th Avenue and 33rd Street as possible while still yielding this franchise some value. In return, New York receives, at one point in his career, a dominant big man in LaMarcus Aldridge — a post presence that, theoretically, pairs well with Kristaps Porzingis. A Knicks team featuring these two big men and competent point guard are considerably more intriguing of a franchise than what current exists above Penn Station.

This move gives the Knicks some cap-space flexibility because they will be paying about $5 million less this season while Aldridge’s 2018–19 salary is a player option, which he will most likely opt out of. This is cap space that could possibly be used to go after a Kyle Lowry this year or a top-tier player in the summer of 2018. Since Phil Jackson’s end of the season comments about Carmelo’s status with the franchise, the Knicks are operating in a less than ideal market, which will most likely yield a less than ideal trade value for Carmelo Anthony.

Why Does San Antonio Do This? Since signing Aldridge in the summer of 2015, the Spurs have been 7th, 5th, and 9th in offensive rating in the last three seasons, and their offense has plateaued at about 111 points per 100 possessions. In order to compete in the current Western Conference with the Golden State Warriors, the Spurs need to look for more offensive fire power to have a chance of overtaking the current champions.

Taking Carmelo off the Knicks hands and adding the 8th overall pick would help in adding more offensive options to a team that looked lethargic and inept once Kawhi Leonard went down in the Western Conference Finals. In Carmelo alone, the team would get a player that can create his own shot, spread out the defense, and be another scoring option down the stretch. Even with all of his issues on and off the court, Carmelo is still a natural scorer who has a style of play that would create more space for Kawhi to operate.

In this hypothetical situation, the Spurs also get the 8th overall pick which could possibly be used on a Lauri Markkanen, Jonathan Isaac, Malik Monk, Dennis Smith, or Frank Ntilikina. Based on the news that came out today, the Spurs are trying to get a top-10 pick, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they are trying to add Ntilikina. He, like other past Spurs draft picks, is a versatile, foreign born player that can handle the ball while running the offense. If this were to happen, this would be another classic RC Buford and Gregg Popovich trade, similar to when they traded George Hill to the Pacers for the pick that became Kawhi. This organization knows the type of players that fit in their system and knows how to scout foreign born players.

What Ultimately Happens? I think the two main assets, Carmelo Anthony and LaMarcus Aldridge, are moved this offseason. Do these two team work together to make this deal? Possibly, but it is hard to tell if these two teams would accept this deal. The Knicks desperately need to move Carmelo, but it is unknowing if they are willing to also part ways this year’s first-round pick. In my mind, a return of Aldridge for Carmelo should be one of the best values the Knicks could receive, and his ability to pair with Porzingis would make this team an interesting front court.

If this deal is done, the Spurs become a very interesting team to watch with free agency beginning in early-July. In my opinion, the addition of Carmelo and this 8th pick along with resigning Pau Gasol make the Spurs a legitimate candidate of landing Chris Paul.