Is Carmelo Anthony still elite? Just ask him and he’ll tell you himself. Well, kind of. Let’s assume that it’s “the dumbest question ever asked” because ‘Melo obviously considers himself to be elite.
The more important question — whether Anthony is elite or not — is if the Knicks see Carmelo as part of their future. Some recent rumors around the league would suggest that they don’t. So, what other teams may have mutual interest along with ‘Melo in joining forces? Glad you asked!
There’s actually far more teams than you may imagine that have the means to make a move on the eight-time All-Star. But for now, let’s stick to the one that makes the most sense.
Does either team say no? If the Knicks are indeed looking to trade Anthony, this may be the best offer they get — and if Chicago needed to add a draft pick to make it happen, it’s unlikely that would hold up a deal of this caliber.
Why it works for the Bulls
The addition of Anthony is obviously an upgrade, but there is some thought that has to go into the deal. Joakim Noah is an important player. His defense, rebounding, energy and overall well-rounded game are very rare and valuable. However, the Bulls felt that he and Pau Gasol didn’t mesh well on the floor at the same time last season, and there have been whispers that Noah may be moved to a bench role. If that’s true, this deal is a no brainer.
Chicago could then roll out a starting five that features Rose-Butler-Anthony-Teletovic-Gasol with Taj Gibson likely the sixth man. The Bulls think very highly of Teletovic, especially alongside Pau. That’s a scary lineup that has the ability to play small-ball or go big … something those guys in Cleveland really don’t want to see in the Eastern Conference. At the cost of Noah and a couple young prospects, it’s worth rolling the dice on ‘Melo.
Why it works for the Knicks
Moving on is always tough, but sometimes it’s what’s best for everyone. That’s exactly the mindset for New York with this move. Of course, acquiring Noah immediately clogs their frontcourt — the Knicks signed centers Robin Lopez (basically a lesser Noah), Kyle O’Quinn and Kevin Seraphin this summer. Frankly, they don’t need a center, but Noah is an obvious upgrade over all three. Keep in mind Noah is in a contract season, though. He could either be repackaged at the deadline for more young talent, or re-signed if NYK can find takers on the other bigs.
Speaking of young talent, the Knicks get more of it in this deal after a strong offseason. Kristaps Porzingis was the highly controversial No. 4 overall pick, but has looked good so far (at least as good as you can look without even playing in a preseason game yet). And Notre Dame senior PG Jerian Grant looks to be a good young player to run the Knicks’ offense in years to come. Adding another versatile rookie in Portis, along with a still promising prospect in McDermott, only helps improve upon the young core already in place.
I know Knicks fans are tired of waiting, but I love this trade even more if they go and flip Noah again and add to their youth movement. They could then take Porzingis/Grant/Portis/McDermott and they players they acquire for Noah, and likely find themselves in the lottery again, selected more talent to add to the pot. Now the Knicks are actually getting somewhere … in 2020.
Bulls fans simply rejoice at the trade. Anything but a Cleveland vs. Chicago ECF would be a shocker, and that’s all you can ask for.
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