The incoming All Star breaks also means the emergence of the vaunted trade deadline, a time where playoff and championship contending teams make some key in-season moves to bolster their roster to prepare for the stretch run.
For the New York Knicks and their now controversial star Carmelo Anthony, the trade deadline will be the mark of whether or not they think they have a shot to do some damage in the East or if they just want to start anew altogether.
Anthony is the x-factor in all of this.
With the fans in New York and many experts around the league essentially calling for him to be traded, the pressure seems to be on Phil Jackson to make the move that best supports the team.
However, the real pressure is on Melo.
With the no-trade clause built within his contract, Anthony has all of the power here. When he had a chance to sign with another team a couple of offseason ago, he chose to stay in New York and try to build something with this Knicks team that looked on the verge of breaking through. With the additions of Joakim Noah, Derrick Rose, Courtney Lee and Brandon Jennings as well as the emergence of Kristaps Porzingis, Anthony looked to have a team that was ready to compete.
This season, however, has been a lot of trial and error for the Knicks who have showed a lot of inconsistency and have been teetering the .500 mark all year. This inconsistency has caused fans and experts to direct the blame to Melo because even though he is the star, that Porzingis emergence, and the fact that Porzingis is only in his second year, is more than enough means for them to want to do away with Anthony.
Though I feel the blame is unfair, it is logical because of the age factor that is present and we can only assume that Porzingis is going to continue to improve into a perennial all star.
So, with all of this being said, there are definitely some teams that have inquired and uninspired about the race to possibly pick up on of the NBA’s premier scorers.
Teams like the Clippers, Cavs, and Thunder, most prominently, have shown extreme interest in Anthony while the Celtics have publicly shown disinterest in a possible deal.
Melo’s two best destinations would be the Cavs and the Thunder who are both looking for another scoring option, or in LeBron’s words another “playmaker.” The Clippers could possibly be a good fit, but to have Blake Griffin and Melo on the same team would present a cluster in an offense that is reliant on flow and spacing.
If Melo wants to win now, the Cavs would be his best bet. I believe that a trade between Melo and Kevin Love would be a win for the Cavs as Melo can do everything Love can do and better.
The Thunder, though, are the dark horse option here. Russell Westbrook has had to put up some all time averages just to keep the team in the playoff race to this point and the addition of Melo can present some necessary relief for him as well as another player who can be the first option.
The Thunder are made up of a lot of role players who could fit well around a Westbrook- Anthony combination like a Victor Oladipo, Andre Roberson and Steven Adams. When one player is off the floor, the other can assume the scoring load and carry the unit for that stretch of time. The fans of OKC will embrace the coming of a player like Melo, especially after Kevin Durant leaving, and give Melo the love that his is reportedly lacking in New York.
Again, Melo is in complete control here.
If he truly believes that this Knicks roster, with the possible addition of a player during the deadline, can still compete in the East then he will stay. But if the roster remains the same and the team remains stagnant in their performance, then he has to leave and look out for what’s best for him. It’s clear that the New York fan base is starting to turn on him already, so Melo had to do what’s best for him and his Finals aspirations.
The Cavs would be the sure fire option but the Thunder, in my opinion, could be another destination that could fit him very well.
It’s all on his plate and I’m sure that this will come down to the wire.
Do you think Melo will still be a Knick after the trade deadline? Let’s talk about it here or find me on Twitter @Phenombc3.