Let’s be very clear about this: Carmelo Anthony has a no-trade clause.
He’s one of three NBA players with the authority to green light or turn down a move; LeBron James and Dirk Nowitzki are the others. For any rumbling you hear regarding the New York Knicks’ interest in dealing the forward, remember: Melo has the final say.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported late Sunday night that the 33-year-old is open to being dealt to the Cleveland Cavaliers or Houston Rockets. It’s the first time Melo’s expressed any willingness to leave New York, but that hasn’t stopped trade speculation from becoming widespread throughout the league in recent weeks.
Let’s look at the latest on Melo—as well as a former teammate—below.
According to ESPN.com’s Ian Begley, the Knicks have “told people around the league that, at this point, they remain hopeful that they can trade Anthony.”
Translation: They think they can convince him to go elsewhere.
Cleveland remains an intriguing option. James is one of Melo’s closest friends in basketball; they’re so close that Melo is accepted as a member of the “banana boat” group, despite never saddling up on an actual banana boat like the rest of them.
The potential to win a title with the Cavaliers is as tremendous as it gets. Anthony is likely bound for the Hall of Fame one day, but a championship would cement his all-time status and bolster his reputation as a superstar.
One problem: What could Cleveland give up that convinces the Knicks to make a move? Anything is better than nothing, of course, but some assets would need to be involved for the elite scorer, and the Cavs‘ cupboard is quite bare.
Per Begley, New York and the “Houston Rockets touched base last month on an Anthony deal but the Knicks were not interested in Ryan Anderson, per league sources.” Hours after Daryl Morey traded for Chris Paul, ESPN’s Tim McMahon tweeted that the team believed it was getting Melo or Paul George:
A day before team president Phil Jackson was booted, Marc Stein, formerly of ESPN.com, reported that Anthony and Co. were engaging in buyout talks:
How come? The willingness to leave via a buyout and not trade—at least until recently—could stem from a still-chilly relationship with the front office. General manager Steve Mills and vice president of player personnel Clarence Gaines Jr. were allegedly caught laughing at Melo’s 2 a.m. workout video during Sunday’s Summer League matchup.
Anthony has appeared motivated to stay near his NYC-based wife, La La, and their son Kiyan. Now, it’s becoming possible that the potential to form a borderline super team—whether in Cleveland or Houston—sways him.
Iman Shumpert, who played alongside Anthony for three-and-a-half years on the Knicks, was reportedly being shopped by the Cavaliers once free agency opened.
The 27-year-old shooting guard is due $10.3 million in 2017-18 with an early-termination option next summer.
Per ESPN’s Wojnarowski, the Cavs talked with Houston about adding Shumpert into the mix:
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported that Cleveland was in the market for a pick and a trade exception in order to free up money for Kyle Korver:
After the Rockets agreed to a four-year deal worth $32 million with P.J. Tucker, trade talks stalled, per The Vertical’s Shams Charania:
Hours later, Cody Taylor of Basketball Insiders tweeted that Houston’s interest in Shump is “basically dead”:
Though Houston is out on Shumpert, Cleveland still has serious incentive to move him. Wojnarowski provided more insight:
“By trading Shumpert, the committed salaries in Cleveland would drop from $125 million to $115 million guaranteed, $4 million below the luxury tax, and save the team $17.1 million in potential taxes.
In total, the trade could save the Cavaliers $28 million this season, factoring in Shumpert‘s contract and tax savings.”
That was before Korver agreed to a new deal with the Cavaliers, as reported by Charania:
Expect Shumpert to be moved sometime soon. His contract is reasonable, despite his offensive limitations, and HoopsHype’s Alex Kennedy reported on July 1 that “several teams” were interested:
A deal should be completed soon.
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