Let’s keep it real Carmelo Anthony is not going anywhere. The beef between Carmelo and Phil Jackson from last week has carried over to this week, but this time it was Jackson taking action. According to ESPN’s Marc Stein and Chris Haynes the Knicks contacted the Cavaliers to kick the tires on a trade involving Carmelo for Kevin Love straight up. I’d assume Cavs GM David Griffin simply laughed before hanging up the phone.
This comes a day after the Cavs lost to an Anthony Davis-less New Orleans Pelicans as they continue their midseason “swoon” if you want to even call it that. LeBron James responded to the embarrassing loss by demanding a playmaker to be added:
I not mad or upset at management cause Griff and staff have done a great job, I just feel we still need to improve in order to repeat…
Clearly LeBron is just grumpy. This time last year the Cavs were in a similar funk and David Blatt ended up on the unemployment line. No one should be losing their job this time around, but you can bet Griffin is working the phone lines. Carmelo certainly fits the playmaker bill however it’s naive to think that he can fit the role Love is currently in.
Carmelo is not cut out to be the catch-and-shoot third option that Love is excelling in this season. On the scoring front he would make the Cavs an absolute nightmare to guard. He can score anywhere on the floor and is surprisingly even with Love in three-point percentage (Carmelo is hitting at 37.2 percent while Love is hitting at 37.6), but that does not factor in that a majority of Love’s attempts are on spot ups while Carmelo works off the dribble. Love further separates himself on the boards. Carmelo is pulling down 8.9 rebounds per 100 possessions while Love is pulling down 17. Love can also play small ball center if need be while Carmelo can only occupy the positions LeBron already plays.
Had this trade proposal been brought forward this time last year there might have been something to talk about. Love was not playing his third banana role well and the Knicks were in an identical position. Jackson could have approached Carmelo a year ago. The Cavs are one of the two teams he would waive his no-trade clause for so it was likely that he would have done the same last season. Both teams could have done a straight swap or even included the star-hungry Boston Celtics. Love could have went to Boston, Carmelo to Cleveland and that golden egg of a Nets pick would belong to the Knicks which now looks like it will turn into Markelle Fultz or Lonzo Ball.
That’s the type of luck the Knicks have had for a better part of the decade. It’s not all bad however–this shows the front office is finally ready to rebuild. If that is indeed the case this is great news. Carmelo likely isn’t going anywhere (which isn’t the worst thing in the world, contrary to popular belief), but maybe Derrick Rose is. What about Courtney Lee? Will someone take a leap of faith on Joakim Noah? Okay I went to far there, but you get the point. Rebuild might finally be on the horizon for the Knicks after all.