“IF we add Anthony, we’ll be a top-three team in the West immediately”. Bold, accurate statement, or delusional pipe dream? Either way, C.J. McCollum’s comments he made per SiriusXM NBA Radio and his latest Instagram post are causing a stir through the NBA community, regarding the possibility that Carmelo Anthony could join the Blazers. Smoke and mirrors or could we see a new ‘Big 3’ in the West?
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PORTLAND (-$39.6 million) and New York (-$2.1 million) have two very different payrolls right now. The Blazers have the second highest amount of committed money this season, sandwiched between last years finalists Golden State (-$37.6 million) and Cleveland (-$40.9 million). Any hope Portland has of offloading all of their expiring contracts is probably unrealistic as none of the players are super attractive. That being said Mo Harkless, who is slated to make over $10 million this season, has been linked to New York in most of these ‘rumoured deals’. Melo’s salary ($26.2mil) would require the Blazers to still shed upwards of $14 million and the most intriguing piece that fits the mould is shooting guard Allen Crabbe.
THE Knicks may instead choose that they want some expiring contracts and more draft picks/young talent like Myers Leonard and/or Noah Vonleh instead of Crabbe’s bloated contract Portland would have to part with a handful of picks as well, but it would be worth it to land the 10x All-Star in the Pacific Northwest. All of these trade packages and deals all, of course, hinge on the hope that Anthony waives his no trade clause, allowing the Knicks to move on from the ‘Melo-era’.
Fit In Portland
LET’S say that the first trade I suggested does go through, then where would that leave the Blazers? There offensive versatility and ceiling would be huge, potentially making them the second best offense in the league behind the Warriors. ‘Olympic Melo’ playing as a third or sometimes the second scoring option is the best Melo and in Portland, he could quite happily slot into that role with star backcourt Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum.
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DEFENSIVELY it might not make much sense though. Last year the Trailblazers allowed 108.5 PPG to their opponents, good for the 6th most. They weren’t great defending the three point shot either, tying for the 4th worst percentage allowed (37%). While getting another star on your roster is always an exciting prospect, this move might actually turn out to be a bad thing for Portland, especially given Melo’s age and the fact that as time ticks on he will only continue to deteriorate. Adding another veteran to the wing doesn’t exactly scream ‘better rotation defense’ which could be a huge factor in the perimiter orientated game of today.
I still think Carmelo will find his way to the Rockets before the trade deadline this year and form a star studded trio alongside Chris Paul and James Harden. The amount of power the Knicks have in negotiations is hampered due to Anthony’s no trade clause option in his contract. The fit with the Blazers warrants some consideration, but by no means would Melo choose them over the Rockets given the roster constructs. It would be interesting and I would love to see what Lillard/McCollum/Anthony could do, as long as I wasn’t watching the defensive possessions. Full credit to C.J. McCollum for spearheading theses rumours and causing a stir, I just don’t see it happening. Most of the reports that I have read still have Melo interested in waiving his no trade clause only if he can end up in Houston or Cleveland. Close, but not close enough C.J.
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