Carmelo Anthony’s days in New York appear to be numbered (again). We said this at the trade deadline back in February, but after the most recent spat between Anthony and Knicks president Phil Jackson, who continues to try and push him out the door, trade rumors are once again swirling around the Knicks star.
Anthony has said he would consider waiving his no-trade clause if the Knicks insisted on entering a rebuilding phase, because he wants to be on a championship contender as he is entering the tail end of his prime years. Our first major report of a potential destination from Anthony this summer is a familiar rumor, as Marc Berman of The New York Post has sources saying that the Boston Celtics — a team linked to Anthony at the deadline — could once again try to land the veteran.
Berman reports that the Knicks are very interested in Celtics forward Jae Crowder, who Jackson allegedly has been interested in since 2014. The Celtics can clear cap space to eat Anthony’s contract by renouncing the rights to free agents like Amir Johnson, Jonas Jerebko, and Tyler Zeller. As Berman notes, one of the reasons Boston did not pull the trigger at the deadline was because of a desire to have flexibility on the free agent market this July.
However, should Boston fail to land one of their top free agent targets, the Celtics could turn to an Anthony trade as a Plan B. Anthony would have to waive his no-trade clause, but he would get to remain relatively close to New York where his family is and join a team that earned the top seed in the East in the regular season. We don’t know what exactly the criteria are for Anthony to be willing to waive his no-trade, but that would at least be an enticing option. With the Celtics down 0-2 to the Bulls, should they fail to get out of the first round (or even if they escape this round and fall in the second round), they could see Anthony as the offensive weapon on the wing they need to get over the hump.
While Anthony certainly will be an option for the Celtics, Boston could still also try to pursue one of the other wing players they were linked to around draft time in Jimmy Butler and Paul George. Butler has torched the Celtics so far in the first round, while George has been magnificent for the Pacers despite Indiana’s 0-3 deficit to the Cavs.
Boston will have a high draft pick thanks to the Nets (possibly No. 1) and if we’ve learned anything from the past two years it’s that Danny Ainge isn’t exactly trade happy when it comes to moving his assets. This summer may cause him to change course if he feels pressure to win now, but all of his plays in recent years have been to hedge and hold onto draft picks and young players on team-friendly contracts. Those are the things you have to be willing to part ways with to land a star. Anthony will be, by far, the cheapest option of the three All-Star wings potentially on the trade market this summer, but we’ll have to see it to believe it, both with Anthony waiving his no-trade and Ainge parting ways with assets.