NBA trade rumors surrounding the New York Knicks’ on-again, off-again relationship with star small forward Carmelo Anthony continue to ramp up as the team prepares for next week’s NBA trade deadline on February 23. Insiders around the league continue to speculate on the various scenarios that could send Carmelo packing to Boston, Cleveland, Los Angeles, or a number of other cities in a transaction that most expect would give the Knicks several players and draft picks in return.
Anthony’s much-discussed no trade clause for the Knicks, however, does put a bit of doubt on the matter for the hard-up, 23-34 franchise.
For that reason, the NBA trade rumors surrounding Carmelo and his status with the Knicks have been all over the place.
“I never thought I would be anywhere else [this season],” said the 32-year-old former NBA All-Star, according to ESPN, while asserting his belief that rumors of the team’s desire to jettison him out of the Big Apple have been greatly exaggerated. “Like I told you all before, nothing came to me [from the Knicks], nothing came to my table for me to look at. Until that time comes, then they don’t need for me to even talk about the no trade clause.”
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It was ESPN that first reported on NBA trade rumors that the Knicks had requested a package deal involving draft picks and Kevin Love of the NBA Champion Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for “Melo,” a proposal that the Cavs are believed to have turned down at face value.
Whether or not Cleveland has considered retooling the potential trade to make it more Cavs-friendly — in light of rumors that LeBron James pushed team management hard to pull the trigger on a swap involving Love for Carmelo Anthony — has yet to be confirmed.
What is known is that LeBron stepped forward last week to slam reports that he tried to get team management to broker that deal.
According to United Press International, James noted that NBA trade rumors involving Love and Anthony were “just outside noise” and that his team has to “focus on what needs to be done, and that’s to continue to compete for a championship. And we got what we got.”
NBA Trade Rumors Kevin Love and LeBron James [Image by Christian Petersen/Getty Images]
Of course, LeBron and the Cavaliers have to be concerned with the Golden State Warriors’ 49-7 start to the season after signing Kevin Durant to a contract last Summer.
Back in New York, ESPN reported that the Knicks have a number of other options on the table for Carmelo Anthony.
“Sources” told the news outlet that NBA trade rumors surrounding Anthony are still totally plausible in spite of Cleveland having seemingly backed down, and cited the Clippers and Celtics as two other potential landing spots.
Those potential deals, ESPN said it was told, are “complicated” as the trade deadline looms.
In particular, the sports network reported that a Carmelo-to-Clippers transaction could go down, but that the Knicks were actively searching for a third team that could “make the deal work.”
One such team that might allow the Knicks and Clippers to pull the trigger could be the Boston Celtics. The Boston Globe reported last month that the Celtics “indicated to ESPN that they don’t have interest” in adding Carmelo Anthony, presumably because the move would require them to break up their core roster in the process.
The Globe would expand on the NBA trade rumors, however, by noting that the Knicks seem to be far-more interested in facilitating a deal to get Carmelo Anthony out of town than they do breaking up some of the talent that the Clippers or Celtics have collected.
In other words, a three-way transaction with Boston and L.A. — in which the Celtics would acquire a veteran Clippers player such as Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, or D’Andre Jordan — in exchange for a draft pick(s) — might make a Carmelo Anthony trade more amiable to all involved.
Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul [Image by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images]
[Featured Image by Patrick Smith/Getty Images]