The NBA trade deadline is Thursday, and the biggest name who could potentially get moved is Carmelo Anthony. Anthony hates Phil Jackson (as any rational person now does) and has been subject to trade rumors all season—from supposedly going to the Cavaliers a month ago to supposedly going to the Celtics just a few minutes ago. And, as it so happens, today marks the anniversary of the first time a team dealt Melo away at gunpoint for a pile of crap:
Now look, it’s not exactly fair to blame the Knicks’ woes on Carmelo. That’s like blaming the fire on a fireman. We’re talking about a team owned by a ninth-rate GE Smith wannabe with a Jesus complex and run by a glorified TED speaker with a Buddha complex. Even with Magic Johnson tapped to run the Lakers into the ground, the Knicks are the most gloriously dysfunctional franchise in basketball, and perhaps all of sport. They’ve out-Skinned the Redskins, even. It’s a marvel to behold.
Even so, there are obvious drawbacks to investing in the Carmelo Anthony experience, namely:
- He’s 32 years old
- He’s owed $54 million in the two seasons after this one, before his contract is finally off the books
- He ranks 390th in Defensive Box Plus/Minus, an advanced defense stat I am using here as proof that he blows on defense, which you already knew anecdotally
- He has a no-trade clause, and he and his family have priorities outside of basketball that severely limit his landing spots, which is probably why he hasn’t been traded already
- If he IS traded, his salary automatically goes up 15 percent because of a trade kicker. Holy shit!
All of those considerations take a backseat to the greater, ongoing critique of Melo, which is that no matter where he goes, he will demand to be THE MAN, and a team can’t win with him in that role. He will not share. He will not defer. And this week has already proven that a bad reputation can have a real and tangible effect on your trade value.
But is that fair to Anthony at all? NBA teams trade for garbage all the time, and yet they’re gonna pass on this guy because they think that’s the best trade they’ll never make? Cheeriogate aside, Melo has been a model citizen throughout his time in New York, and yet the “selfish” brand still clings to him. I think that’s in part because he’s a scorer and people view scoring a naturally selfish act, even if that’s what you’re really good at and should be doing. I think it’s also possible that, like certain quarterbacks (coughANDYDALTONcough), Melo has a skill set that commands a high value, but isn’t enough to make a team consistently successful. He deserves his salary and his standing, and yet that prominence also hinders him, through no real fault of his own.
Is there really no way to successfully deploy this man, or are NBA teams just run by stupid assholes? Wasn’t Carmelo a hugely successful Olympian who blended in seamlessly with his alpha dog teammates? I know that’s a bit easier to do when you’re facing the likes of Angola, but it just seems odd that Melo would be considered a square peg in a league of round holes right now. It’s not like he’s incapable of playing with other skilled players who also like having the ball. Paul Pierce got KG and Ray Allen dropped into his lap and now he’s a True Champion. Can’t anyone use this guy and not fuck it up the way the Knicks have?
I have no answers for this because I’m not a dipshit basketblogger. I legitimately don’t know, and I’m curious what you think down in the bowels of Kinja here. Would you want your crappy local NBA team to make a play for Melo? Is he worth a shit? I demand answers.