Should the struggles of the New York Knicks continue this season and spill over to the next, expect a do-over of the Carmelo Anthony situation then with his former team when the star demanded a trade from the Denver Nuggets.
And if Melo has his choice, he is picking between the Chicago Bulls or the pair of Los Angeles teams, Lakers and Clippers, according to the New York Post.
Anthony’s contract can expire at the end of the 2013-2014 season if he opts-out of the final year of his deal with the Knicks which will make him one of the prized free agents in the next offseason.
Similar to the Denver dilemma, New York may want to extract value from a player who may leave them with nothing when free agency begins.
Frustrations have started to set-in at this point of the season for the Big Apple team— from players, coaches to the front office and even the fans—as they can only muster nine wins out of 30 games so far, or the second-worst win-loss card in the entire league.
Anthony is not oblivious to the frustration after having mini-meltdown on social media after indulging a fan in an insensitive exchange:
“I didn’t ask for your glazed donut face ass to root for me anyway!!!!” posted Anthony on Twitter, replying to a heckling fan. Melo’s tweet has now been deleted.
Anthony also witnessed how the New York fans turned on former player Stephon Marbury, who got jeered by the NY crowd when he made an appearance in one of the recent home games.
According to the same article, Anthony is a “sensitive person” and that he doesn’t want to be the next Marbury—or the poster child of franchise’s failure and disappointment.
While the Knicks have failed to live up to expectations this season, Anthony remains one of the top players in the league at least statistically. He averages 26.3 points (3rd in the NBA), 8.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game for the year.
Clearly, Melo will be one of the top free agents either at the end of this season or next. Will he demand a trade to one of his preferred teams? Will New York lose him for nothing or choose to trade him while he’s still under contract with the Knicks?
Below are a few trade possibilities with the mentioned teams via ESPN Trade Machine:
New York-Chicago Trade: C. Anthony for L. Deng and T. Gibson
Deng will hit free agency as well and Gibson is a key guy on defense for Chicago. But with Melo, the Bulls get a boost on offense and could be a good pair with Rose when the latter returns. For New York, they get a minor piece in Gibson but would be a sign that they are totally rebuilding.
New York – L.A. Clippers Trade: C. Anthony for B. Griffin and J. Crawford
Clippers won’t probably do it considering their recent success but this is more on how they value Melo.
New York – L.A. Lakers Trade: C.Anthony + A. Stoudemire for P. Gasol, S. Nash, S. Blake, C. Kaman, J. Meeks for Future First Round Picks
Both teams are in messy situations anyway. They can exchange expiring or near-expiring contracts and the Lakers can add those first-rounders to woo New York. For L.A., they make one final run with Kobe and Melo (and scrubs) and for N.Y., they get dump Amare’s contract and gets a few picks for the future.