The Wizards are coming off their best season in recent memory — nearly advancing to the conference finals. John Wall and Bradley Beal are developing into legitimate stars, and the team is no doubt trending in the right direction.
But forget patience. Pitching a reunion for the ages to a couple of homegrown superstars is the aggressive move this team needs.
By now, everyone’s heard the 2016 free agency rumors surrounding D.C.’s own Kevin Durant. But what if the Wizards try to take things to the next level? I mean really next level. Want to show KD how serious you are? Make a move on a Baltimore native, Carmelo Anthony, in the meantime.
The Knicks made the obvious move to re-sign ‘Melo last summer. Now it’s reached the point where he’s more valuable to them as a trade chip than a player. The Knicks have NOTHING else of immediate value. With all due respect to Arron Afflalo and Robin Lopez, they aren’t going to save a 17-win team.
What New York does have is a couple of nice, young talents in Kristaps Porzingis and Jerian Grant. Cash out on Carmelo and add to that young core. If the Knicks learned anything this summer, it’s that they’re no longer a sexy free agent destination unless they’re winning. Time to start planning to get through this rebuild the hard way.
The Wizards present both an opportunity Anthony would likely agree to, and just enough young talent to convince the Knicks to pull the trigger.
Terms: There’s more to the deal than pictured. Kelly Oubre (Washington’s first-round draft pick) would also be in the package the Knicks receive. Due to his inclusion, the trade wouldn’t be allowed to happen by league rules until August 8. As you may recall, last season the Cavs and Wolves had to sit on the Wiggins/Love swap for 30 days. This is because a draft pick can not be traded for a 30-day period once he’s signed. Oubre was signed by the Wizards on July 8, hence an August 8 trade date.
Now that we have the minor details out of the way, let’s talk big picture. Believe it or not, his is a MAJOR upgrade for both franchises considering where they currently stand.
The Knicks now have Nene’s $13 million coming off the books next summer, clearing the cap space required to turn around a re-sign Beal (who also expires, and is set to get paid) as their key piece. Otto Porter (No. 3 overall in 2013) started to really develop down the stretch last season, while Oubre (No. 15 in 2015) has had a fantastic summer league so far — both first-rounders would be very welcomed additions to the Knicks now promising young core.
Look what we have here all the sudden: Beal, Porzingis, Grant, Porter and Oubre? I kind of like that, especially considering Beal is the only one that will require big money until four years from now. Don’t lie to yourself, this improves the Knicks.
The Wizards, on the other hand, make a power move to go all in on a championship. They have bigs already on the roster (Kris Humphries/Drew Gooden) that can step in and take Nene’s minutes next season — not to mention ‘Melo can play PF. Wall and Anthony should combine to be a dangerous duo in the east in 2015-16.
But this plan in all about 2016. Washington then does what it takes to clear cap space (not as hard as it sounds with an expected jump of $20 million), and convince KD to come home. Both Wall and Anthony would have three years left on their contracts, so Durant can be assured neither of them will bolt anytime soon.
Like any Big Three these days, growing pains are to be expected. But Wall/Durant/Anthony would be a tough out for LeBron’s Cavs (to be very polite). I’d probably favor the Wizards in the east in this scenario pending their ability to fill out the rest of their roster with people who know what a basketball is.
The crazy part? Just as these super-teams in D.C. and Cleveland begin to die down … that team of young prospects in New York isn’t so young anymore. If the Knicks can stay away from their bad habits, this trade could set them up for a lot of success just around the corner.
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