Rumors have been raging on about New York Knicks president Phil Jackson’s desire to move on from the Carmelo Anthony-era via trade, so several of our writers gathered for a Melo-centered roundtable to discuss the possible best new fit for Anthony and what the Knicks’ next move should be if they do indeed ship Carmelo out of New York. Our participants for this roundtable are:
- Ralph Cortes (__@RLoading)
- Martin Soaries (@marsoaries)
- DJ Allen (@DJAllen23)
- Randy King (@randizzleking16)
- Felix John-Baptiste (@TwoSmooth2)
1.) There is a __% chance Carmelo Anthony will be in a Knicks jersey past the trade deadline.
Cortes: I would say as low a chance as Kevin Durant not getting booed once he returns to Oklahoma City. Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks have been a mess and the dislike between the two parties seems mutual. With the Knicks reportedly shopping Carmelo to teams like the Cavaliers and the Clippers, it seems as if the two sides are destined to move on from each other.
Soaries: I’d give it a 40 percent chance at this point. It feels more like we’re hitting the tipping point of Carmelo in New York and he’s taking seriously the idea of waiving his no-trade clause.
Allen: There’s a 50% chance that Carmelo Anthony will be in a Knicks jersey after the deadline. I know that might sound like a cop-out but this situation has me torn. Even though things seem to be heating up, I feel like that the pride and determination in Anthony will keep him in New York.
King: I’ll say that there is a 25% chance Carmelo Anthony suits up in a Knicks uniform after the deadline. Given the mood around the Knicks organization and Carmelo’s relationship — or lack thereof — with Phil Jackson, all signs are pointing to him packing his bags to another suitor.
John-Baptiste: As we know, I’m in favor of Carmelo remaining a Knick for the rest of the season. I’ve avoided the false reports, and those coming from “sources” for a while. However, with the news that Phil is determined to move him before the deadline, I think he’s as good as gone. I’m just not sure how you repair the player-management relationship after the most recent developments.
2.) Which one of these teams would be the best fit for Carmelo: Cavaliers, Clippers, or Celtics?
Cortes: The Clippers. The Los Angeles Clippers have long been looking for a solid option at small forward. Carmelo would be a good fit due to his ability to get easy buckets and not having to rely on CP3 and Blake all the time.
Soaries: I believe the Clippers are the best fit. Doc Rivers would be the best coach Carmelo has had in his NBA career and Chris Paul would be the best point guard he’s ever played with. Carmelo is an elite candidate for what the Clippers need in a wing scorer. As an added weapon he could help give LA the kind of boost they would need to make a run in the West.
Allen: If Los Angeles can keep Paul, Griffin, and Jordan then the Clippers would be the best spot for Carmelo Anthony. His scoring gives them another scoring option, especially at the small forward position where they’ve been struggling.
King: The Clippers seem to be the best suited for Carmelo’s style of play. With Paul handling the ball and running the offense it takes less pressure off of Carmelo to go isolation majority of the time. There has never been a question of Carmelo’s scoring ability, the question was always his surrounding counterparts. With the Clippers, Carmelo would have superstars around him so his level of play will want to match or even exceed those on his own team.
John-Baptiste: The Clippers. Only because for as long as this version of the squad has been intact, they’ve had a glaring hole at the 3. Melo would literally be a plug and play, and immediately be effective. With that being said, Kyrie-JR-LeBron-Melo-Thompson doesn’t look too shabby either. Think about it.
3.) Where would you personally like to see Carmelo end up?
Cortes: The Toronto Raptors. The Raptors could use Melo at the three for added firepower. If Toronto truly wants to make a run at Cleveland, then they would need extra firepower to compete with Cleveland’s “top-heavy” team. Carmelo Anthony would give Toronto just that.
Soaries: I really think it’d be fun to see him work with Doc Rivers and Chris Paul, but I’d also like to see Carmelo in Boston. A pseudo-Big 3 formed with Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford with some of Boston’s other pieces might make the Celtics an entertaining contender to the Cavs.
Allen: I would like to see Anthony with the Raptors. I feel like he would make them an immediate NBA Finals ready team. Although I envision him being a great fit on the Los Angeles Clippers, I believe the Eastern Conference is the best route for a championship opportunity. The Golden State Warriors are dominant in the Western Conference and if they can remain healthy and keep their players, they’ll be atop that conference for a while.
King: I would love to see ‘Melo suit up in the Purple and Gold. It would not be practical or even logical, but I just want somebody to fill in that Kobe-like mentality of being a cold-blooded scorer who is not afraid of taking any shot. Forgive my impatience to have one of the current young Lakers assume that role. That is something Carmelo would be able to provide.
John-Baptiste: The New York Knicks. If Melo were to ever bring a championship to NY, he would be an athletic immortal. A legend. But it doesn’t look feasible anymore. So I’d like to see him with LeBron. He’d get an automatic Finals appearance and would only need to go through the Warriors to win it all. If he’s out West, he’d have to potentially go through the Spurs, Warriors AND the Cavs. Yikes!
4.) If Carmelo is traded, what would be considered his greatest moment as a Knick?
Cortes: The game against the Bulls in 2012 would be a personal favorite. The Bulls and Knicks were in the middle of a tight contest in MSG on a Sunday afternoon in 2012. Carmelo, doing what Carmelo does, put on a scoring display on the tough Chicago Bulls. Then, with a hand in his face, drills the game-tying three followed by a game-winning three in OT. Carmelo Anthony showed us that game why we have become fans of the pure scorer out of Syracuse.
Soaries: I’m also going with the 43-point performance against the Bulls on Easter in 2012. It was Carmelo’s highest scoring game since joining the Knicks.
Allen: Easily for me is the 62-point performance that he put up in the Garden. I remember watching that game in college and saying to myself, “uh-oh this is one of those games”. Kobe Bryant previously held the record at 61 so it was cool to see another one of my favorite players take the reigns. Despite having 34 points, after Carmelo hit that half-court shot, I knew that a big night was on the way.
King: It is tough to top his 62-point performance but I would argue that his 50-point performance against the Heat back when the LeBron, D-Wade, and Chris Bosh ran South Beach and the NBA. Watching highlights of this performance, the look in his eye and the how smooth his jumper was flowing, it was vintage Carmelo. I say that this is his best moment because it was him vs. three All-Stars, and not only did he win the game and beat the highly favored Heat, but he just went out and dominated the entire contest.
John-Baptiste: 2013 Playoffs, first round, Game 6, TD Garden, 3:10 left on the clock, 4th quarter. A 26 point lead had been evaporated and cut down to 4 and the Celtic crowd was relishing in the magic. Melo hits a huge 13 footer to stop the bleeding. He then followed that up with his first 3 pointer in 20 tries at the 1:43 mark to push the lead back up to 9. The Knicks advance in the playoffs for the first time in more than a decade.
5.) What would be the Knicks’ current direction if Carmelo is indeed traded?
Cortes: The obvious and most logical choice for New York is building around Kristaps Porzingis. Kristaps has been incredible for New York to start his career and his potential is through the roof. The 7’3 Latvian has done things not many 7’3 guys can do. As Kevin Durant described him, Zinger is a “Unicorn.” The stuff he does is unreal and the Knicks must be smart and recognize that Porzingis is the answer for the polarizing New York Knickerbockers.
Soaries: With Phil Jackson’s blessing (depending on how much longer he’ll be around) I think Jeff Hornacek will try to usher in a more guard-based atmosphere, obviously built to accommodate Porzingis as the centerpiece. The Knicks would have to figure out what to do with Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah. They wouldn’t be guaranteed as part of that future. If Carmelo is to be traded, it’s likely the Knicks would sink deeper into the rabbit hole before a productive rebuild can manifest.
Allen: The only direction is to build through Kristaps Porzingis. He’s their savior and hope for the future so getting rid of Anthony would mean that they’re putting all of their money on the future. I just hope that all of the Knicks fans realize that things are going to get worse. They begged and wanted Anthony gone. So once he’s gone, I hope that they realize that things will get much worse before it gets better.
Randy: It would be promising for sure. Kristaps Porzingis would be the focal point and whatever value they get from Carmelo being traded, they would have to make sure those pieces would either:
A.) Be draft picks that they can build from scratch and develop those players
or they would:
B.) Get veteran help that can contribute immediately and make a valiant run for a spot in the playoffs with hopes to build on it for next year.
Assuming Porzingis turns into the player they anticipate him being, adding veterans who have experience getting deep in the postseason around him will go a long way. Let us not give up on the Zen Master Phil Jackson just yet, he may have a master plan that we could look back on as the turning point for this Knicks organization.
John-Baptiste: The Knicks must build around the Unicorn. Kristaps Porzingis has already shown his hunger to learn and develop, and has already made major strides in Year 2. Surround him with shooters, defenders and a ball-handler to reduce the pressure on him, then trickle in the additional scorers.