Per a report from Adrian Wojnarowski and Chris Mannix of The Vertical, the New York Knicks have reached out to the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Clippers to gauge their interest in trading for Carmelo Anthony. The Knicks and Anthony have been at odds on his future in New York over the last several weeks. The Vertical report also states Knicks President Phil Jackson is determined to find a new home for Anthony before the trade deadline in late February. The challenge is that Anthony possesses one of the NBA’s few full no trade clauses (NTC), making finding a deal more difficult than usual.
As for the Celtics interest, it is unknown at this point. Boston certainly can put together a package of assets to entice the Knicks, but it is unclear if Anthony would waive his NTC to come to the Celtics. It is also unclear if Boston would even put together a package for Anthony.
While Anthony remains a solid scoring option on the wing, his overall game has slipped noticeably. Never a great defender, he’s now below average. He was once one of the best rebounders in the game from his position, but that has fallen off as well. At this point in his career, Anthony seems to be more flash and name recognition than substance. That name recognition is even questionable, given that he’s finished in the top 10 of MVP voting just twice in his 13 year career and didn’t receive a single vote in seven seasons of his career.
Outside of his declining game, does he fit in Boston? The Celtics offense is predicated on ball movement and, when all else fails, giving the ball to Isaiah Thomas to create something from nothing. Anthony could help with creating some offense, but it would come at the expense of everyone else, as he’s a notorious ball stopper. He is also a significant downgrade defensively compared to all the other players at his position and the Celtics already struggle enough in that department.
He’s also owed $54.2 million for the next two seasons after this year. The final season of his deal is a player option, but at his age he is unlikely to opt out of nearly $28 million. In addition, there is a 15% trade bonus on top of his already bloated salary. Boston would, in effect, give up all future salary flexibility to acquire Anthony.
Finally, in order to complete a trade for Anthony, the Celtics would have the tricky proposition of matching salary. Players like Amir Johnson, Tyler Zeller and Jonas Jerebko go a long way towards that, but it would take more than just them. Acquiring Anthony would cost Boston a good deal of depth, in addition to whatever assets they would need to give up to get him.
As with any trade, it is a matter of cost. If Anthony comes at a cheap enough price and is willing to buy into the Celtics culture, it could be a worthy gamble. But if the price starts to drive higher, it is best for Boston to move along and pursue other options down the line.
Update: ESPN is now reporting that the Celtics have indicated that they have no interest in a trade for Anthony.