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New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony Eyeing Los Angeles Clippers?

December 29th, 2013 at 9:44 PM
By Matt Agne

Despite the fact that everyone knows Carmelo Anthony will opt-out of his contract with the New York Knicks after this season most believed he'd simply re-sign since James Dolan can offer him more money than anyone else. However, there have been many who have thought it more wise for the Knicks to trade Anthony instead of taking the chance they lose him in free agency for nothing. Knicks 101 wrote one such article earlier this month. With his eyes on Los Angeles and the Clippers being a more likely landing spot than the Lakers, the Knicks need to seriously think about putting together a deal to gain compensation for losing Anthony.

'Carmelo Anthony' photo (c) 2013, Keith Allison - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Lets get this out of the way, losing Carmelo Anthony via free agency or by trading him away would be categorically devastating to the New York Knicks. Love him or hate him, he's the best player the Knicks have had in uniform since they drafted Patrick Ewing. That being said, the team can not afford to let him leave without compensation. That just can't happen.

If all things work out right, there's little doubt James Dolan and the Knicks' brass would love to re-sign Anthony. However, if he decides this season was just too much for him they need to move on and rebuild with the package they receive for him. Even without an answer New York needs to trade him. For them, it's either a flat out declaration of intent to re-sign or they need to do what's best for the organization and send him on his way. No player is bigger than the team.

That being said, Anthony's stature with the Knicks is almost immeasurable. He's got the juice to have coaches hired and fired, players benched or traded and so forth. However, what the Knicks are dealing with now is the dangers of giving a player that much power.

Anthony is able to opt-out of his contract and walk away after this season. The thought of leaving $30 million plus on the table to do so seems out of character for a player who once forced his way to the Knicks via trade instead of taking less money as a free agent under a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. However, this seasons team is so bad he may be soured on New York all together and ready to sacrifice money in order to win.

Los Angeles seems like his most likely destination being that LaLa Anthony has aspirations of being an actor. Most assume that means Anthony will become Kobe Bryant's sidekick on the Lakers. However, that not only seems like a terrible match but Anthony would also have to accept playing under Mike D'Antoni again.

The more likely, and attractive landing spot in Los Angeles, would be with the Clippers. That would allow Anthony to join his friend Chris Paul on the court, play under Doc Rivers and join a younger more ready-to-win team.

'Los Angeles Clippers' photo (c) 2009, Mike - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Would Anthony leave New York's main event for Los Angeles' side show? Steve Kyler of Hoopsworld reports that Anthony's uncertain future could very well include a Clippers jersey.

Anthony has the option to hit free agency in July and while the Knicks can and likely will offer the most money to retain him, there is a prevailing thought that Carmelo Anthony has checked out on his team and that an eventual exit seems more likely than not.

As one insider said last night after the game, the idea of Anthony leaving the Knicks isn’t talked about in the abstract around the team. It’s talked about as though it’s going to happen.

While free agency is a long way away and there is lots of basketball left to be played, the team that most fans and media peg as Anthony’s likely destination is the LA Lakers, however insiders around the Knicks and Carmelo peg the LA Clippers as more likely to land Anthony if he leaves the Knicks. Openly suggesting the Knicks and Clippers would try and consummate a trade at the trade deadline to insure LA has the rights to Anthony.

Unfortunately, the Clippers wouldn't be able to offer a first round draft pick until the 2017 NBA Draft because of the consecutive draft pick rule. However, that could allow the Knicks to get a nice combination of players and picks from Los Angeles.

What if a package Anthony, Iman Shumpert and Beno Udrih could land the Knicks one of Blake Griffin, Jamal Crawford, Darren Collison and Ryan Hollins? That would be quite a haul for Anthony, a shooting guard whose worn out his welcome and a third-string point guard.

Rest assured that Los Angeles' package would almost certainly include draft picks as well. Knicks 101 would speculate that would mean their 2016 first and second round picks. A package like this would also leave New York with the ability to use J.R. Smith in another trade for a first round pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. 

'Blake Griffin' photo (c) 2011, Keith Allison - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Of course, all of this is speculation. Anthony could very well re-sign with the Knicks and retire as one of New York's favorite sons. Clearly, that's what Dolan is hoping will happen. However, not all stories have a happy ending.

The sad fact is that quite often things don't work out as planned. If Anthony and the Knicks aren't a match made in heaven it's up to New York to do what's best for the organization. If that means they end up running a player out of New York that might have stayed, so be it. They can't take the chance that he walks away and leaves them in shambles.

The Knicks gave up a lot to bring Anthony to Madison Square Garden. If he's going to look around for another landing spot it's up to them to make sure they bring back a package that can help them in the present and the future. Griffin and the other members of the Los Angeles Clippers mentioned are not on Anthony's level. However, they are a much more attractive reality than losing Anthony without anything to show for it.

Tags: Basketball, Beno Udrih, Blake Griffin, Carmelo Anthony, Iman Shumpert, Lakers, LaLa, Los Angeles Clippers, Madison Square Garden, NBA, New York, New York Knicks, Patrick Ewing

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