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Boston could facilitate a 3 team Carmelo Anthony trade

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Danny Ainge will leave no stone unturned

Boston Celtics v New York Knicks Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Gary Washburn has some interesting updates on the Carmelo Anthony saga and how it could involve the Celtics. I suggest going to the article itself as it is brief and informative. However, I can summarize.

Anthony’s no-trade clause limits the number of teams that the Knicks can send him to and while Boston is apparently on that list, the Celtics aren’t interested. It seems that while Brad Stevens wouldn’t have a problem coaching Melo, Danny Ainge doesn’t want him. That hasn’t stopped the Knicks from scouting Celtics players though.

There’s a chance that Boston could get in on a deal as a facilitating 3rd team.

The Knicks haven’t given up hope on including the Celtics as a partner in a potential deal for Carmelo Anthony, sending a scout to Saturday’s Celtics-Bucks game.

Boston could become part of a potential three-team deal that would send Anthony to another club, perhaps the Clippers.

So what would a 3-way trade between the Clippers, Knicks, and Celtics look like? I would generally rule out the Clippers splitting up their big three, so unless something dramatic were to happen, that rules out Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan.

At that point math becomes a considerable hurdle since the Clippers are hard-capped and teams have to match salary. In theory that’s where a 3rd team (with cap space) could help facilitate a deal. The Celtics don’t have a ton of cap room but do have expiring contracts that could be used. But what would Boston be getting out of the deal?

The two logical contracts the Clippers could deal are Jamal Crawford and Austin Rivers. The Celtics once had Rivers briefly, before moving him to the Clippers for a 2nd round pick. Crawford can still score in bunches but he’s on the tail end of his career and will be owed $14M next year (with a non-guaranteed year after that). Neither seems like a fit in Boston. New York would probably welcome a chance to develop Rivers but would want to find a 3rd team to take Crawford’s salary.

A more creative approach might be to include someone like J.J. Redick and other pieces that the Celtics might be interested in. Who knows, maybe the Celtics could bring back Paul Pierce to serve as a mentor and provide some spot depth from the wing. However, the more complicated the deal, the harder it is to make the money work and to accommodate all conflicting needs of each team.

Removing the Celtics from the equation, I could see either the Nets, Sixers, or Suns agreeing to take on Crawford’s salary in exchange for a young player and/or a draft pick. The problem is that the Clippers have complex protections attached to their picks that make them hard to move. Their 2019 1st round pick is owed to the Celtics (with protections). Got all that?

It seems like a long shot that the Celtics will be involved in any Carmelo Anthony trade, but we all know not to rule Danny Ainge out when it comes to getting creative with roster moves.