At a minimum, the NBA trade rumors market seems hung up on a single deal stuck in limbo.
Said deal will feature a guy by the name of Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks, of course. It’s hard to imagine a reality where the two remain together going into next season, meaning the rumor mill keeps on turning with August underway.
Joining the dramatic saga out of the Big Apple are a few more notes fans will want to keep an eye out for, including a team that has already surprised once this offseason with trades and another keeping an eye on the future by any means necessary.
Let’s take a look at the latest offerings during what is normally a slow time of year.
Nets on the Hunt for a Move
The Brooklyn Nets are the team that surprised once already this offseason, striking up the deal with the Los Angeles Lakers for D’Angelo Russell.
Granted, the Lakers used Russell as a way to dump a terrible Timofey Mozgov contract on the Nets, but a team stuck at the bottom of the barrel and searching for a way out doesn’t mind inheriting such a mess of a deal if it means grabbing a former top-two pick to build around in the coming years.
By and large, those sorts of deals are the best way for the Nets to improve the fastest. Free agents don’t consider it a superb destination, and a series of mistakes has left the team without notable draft picks.
As such, it’s not too surprising to hear the team isn’t quite done with trades yet, according to NetsDaily.com:
Again, getting Mozgov was a necessary evil to acquire Russell. The Nets likely want a more athletic big next to Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who often runs at the 4. Rookie Jarrett Allen out of Texas is more of a defensive-minded player for now, so their pursuit of a deal for another big makes sense.
The Nets don’t have much to offer in a deal moving forward, though a rotational big who can shoot and get up and down the court shouldn’t be too hard to obtain if the front office is again willing to soak up some cash in the process.
Believe it or not, the Nets are a team to watch.
Lakers Thinking Ahead
The Lakers are a team with a long-term vision. Hope might be a better word than vision given how often big dreams have turned out to be duds over the past few years, but credit goes to Magic Johnson and the front office for keeping up the pursuit of a major turnaround.
With Lonzo Ball added to the core of Brandon Ingram and Julius Randle and the surprise Kentavious Caldwell-Pope signing as the proverbial cherry on top, the Lakers now turn an eye toward 2018.
There? The front office sees a future gifting them perhaps Paul George or LeBron James, with current guard Jordan Clarkson as perhaps the odd man out, according to Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus.
“One person within the organization who isn’t permitted to speak publicly on the subject told Bleacher Report the team is confident it can move Clarkson if needed to open space,” Pincus wrote.
Clarkson is perhaps left swinging in the wind if the Lakers need to free up cap space if one or more major free agents decide to come to town for a few reasons. One, he has a costly contract through 2019 worth dealing, and two, the Lakers don’t really have another piece they’d seem comfortable moving outside of Luol Deng, but he’s a nice veteran presence for a young core.
For now, the Lakers appear settled into a comfort zone where the young core runs wild next year, flashing the upside and perhaps wooing potential big free agents such as those mentioned, as well as names like DeMarcus Cousins.
If a team wants Clarkson right now, which isn’t so outlandish because he’s a 25-year-old guard who averaged 14.7 points per game last year, things could start to get interesting in Los Angeles.
The circus surrounding Melo and the Knicks still doesn’t seem close to ending.
Anthony is painfully intent on leaving the Knicks after the ugly situation with former president Phil Jackson, which soured his feelings on a franchise he’d remained adamant about staying with for a long time.
With the damage done, the new-look Knicks front office remains hamstrung by Melo‘s demands and the details of his no-trade clause.
As ESPN.com’s Ian Begley pointed out, the Knicks want the obvious return for a superstar:
The problem? He only has one particular destination in mind, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post: “A stalemate has ensued as sources indicate Anthony only wishes to waive his no-trade clause to go to the Rockets. Not even Cleveland, which is in turmoil, is good enough for Anthony as the Cavaliers are dealing with Kyrie Irving’s trade demand.”
Before the mentioned Kyrie Irving drama, the idea Anthony would want to join forces with LeBron in Cleveland seemed to make some sense. But like the Houston Rockets, the Cavaliers don’t have a ton to offer in the form of a trade without digging into the established core that makes them an attractive trade option in Anthony’s eyes to begin with.
And those Rockets don’t have much of an incentive to throw a major offer at the Knicks knowing just as well as anyone else that Anthony doesn’t want to be in New York by the time the regular season rolls around.
Based on progress so far, the Rockets seem intent on letting the Knicks blink first and adding a 33-year-old Melo, who still averaged 22.4 points per game a year ago, to a lineup boasting Chris Paul and James Harden.
With Anthony’s desired destination apparent, the only thing fans of both sides can do is wait it out.
All stats and info via ESPN.com unless otherwise specified.
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