The Cavs and Celtics recently agreed to a huge trade that sent Kyrie Irving headed to Beantown and granted the Cavs a bevy of assets. Now that the dysfunction in Cleveland is over, could Melo again be willing to go to Cleveland?
After Tuesday's blockbuster trade, which saw the Cleveland Cavaliers send disgruntled superstar Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics in exchange for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Brooklyn Nets' unprotected 2018 first-round pick, could the Cavs be back on Melo's radar? And will the Knicks try to spark another trade with Cleveland at all? From a lot of people's perspective, the one big takeaway from this trade is the Nets' 2018 pick.
It's no secret that the Knicks should be trying to rebuild at this point. With trade rumors surrounding Carmelo Anthony for a while, this might be an opportunity for them to strike. Initially, Melo stated that he only wanted to go to the Cavs or the Houston Rockets. In recent weeks, Melo narrowed down his choice to only the Rockets.
Melo's reasons as to why he ruled Cleveland out of the running could stem from the drama that has surrounded the Cavs in recent weeks. The idea of not only playing alongside his good friend LeBron James but also a young stud in Kyrie Irving might have been too good to pass up if the opportunity presented itself. With that opportunity fading away after Irving decided he wanted out, Melo probably wondered why he would want to go to that drama when he could go to the Houston Rockets and play with his other good friend Chris Paul and a top two MVP candidate James Harden.
Now that the Cavs seemingly got better after the trade, maybe Melo will, again, be open to another shot with the Cavs. Jae Crowder has been instrumental on the defensive end for the Celtics in recent seasons. Crowder would ease the pressure for his teammates by taking the toughest defensive assignment and allow for them to be more effective on the offensive end. Isaiah Thomas has shown that he is no slouch after having an All-NBA season and that he is more than capable of taking over. Earning the nickname Mr. Fourth Quarter last season, he also replaces Kyrie's production and has arguably been better than Kyrie in recent seasons.
Considering these aspects, Melo should be intrigued to re-enter the Cavs into his preferred destinations. The Cavs are pretty much guaranteed a spot in the finals, they have a new star who should be ecstatic to play with the greatest player in the world and adding Melo would surely give the Golden State Warriors a run for their money, should the Cavs meet them in the Finals again. The question is what should the Knicks ask for in return?
If it wasn't already obvious, the Knicks need to go for that first-round pick. This pick would almost guarantee another young star for the Knicks to rebuild with, along with Kristaps Porzinigs. However, that might prove to be difficult as the Cavs wanted a young asset to rebuild with in the event that LeBron opts to bolt after the upcoming season. Having this pick does that for them. This brings up two questions. How much do the Cavs value this pick and how much are the Knicks willing to give up for it?
To answer the first question, we need to go back to 2010, when LeBron left the Cavs the first time. Because the Cavs were a great team that season, they weren't able to secure a high pick in the 2010 draft. That left them to go through the following season without anyone to build around and which saw them set a record for most consecutive games lost at the time with 26. It wasn't until the following season that they were able to secure Kyrie in the 2011 draft. Even then, they were still irrelevant until LeBron decided to return home. Considering LBJ can leave again, Thomas will also be a free agent after this season and Melo can also walk if they did decide to trade for him, then keeping this pick is probably priority number one so that they don't have to go through one of the worst seasons in NBA history again. So the Cavs will want a huge return to even consider trading this pick.
Before answering the second question, there are some points that need to be brought up. The Knicks have a very bad history of jumping the gun without considering the consequences of their decisions. That very thought process is precisely why the Knicks are where they are now. Had Phil Jackson not given Melo a no-trade clause, which Phil probably didn't need to throw in considering Melo's heart was in New York, then Melo would be gone by now. Then there's obviously the deal that brought Melo to the Knicks and let's not forget the whole Andrea Bargnani debacle. Of course, there is new management in place now. However, again, no one ever knows with these Knicks.
Now, to answer the second question. Porzingis should be untouchable. In fact, the words Kristaps or Porzingis shouldn't even be uttered in any potential discussions. As for the rest of their young stars, the Knicks should try their best to not include them. However, the Cavs would understandably want some young assets in return. With that, the Knicks should also be willing to throw in one of either Frank Ntilikina or Willy Hernangomez. Anyone else on the roster should also be made available. The Knicks shouldn't give up half of their players, but nobody else on the team brings more value than the player this pick can bring. Also, it's a foregone conclusion that Melo will be leaving, either in a trade or through free agency. So realistically, the Knicks would only be giving up whatever they throw in on top of Melo. Anyone besides Porzingis is worth giving up for that pick.
Of course, the salaries do need to match up so if the Cavs want, they can get rid of Kevin Love in the process. However, they may want to stock up on star power to match the Warriors. Because of this, the Knicks should be willing to take on salary dumps, such as Channing Frye or Iman Shumpert.
The value of this pick is important for both teams or any team for that matter. Ultimately the pick may be more important to the Cavs. However, it would be foolish of the Knicks to at least not try and get the pick, instead of sending Melo away in a horrible deal. Right now, it's anyone's guess how either side is thinking. The Knicks faithful can only hope that their prayers are answered at this point.