Basketball

Melo Trade Talks Continue Amid Knicks’ Downward Spiral

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Melo Trade Talks Continue Amid Knicks' Downward Spiral
PHOTOGRAPH: Carmelo Anthony | The New York Knicks’ star forward Carmelo Anthony.

The New York Knicks and the Los Angeles Clippers are seeking a third team to participate in trade talks revolving around Carmelo “Melo” Anthony.  Anthony has been with the Knicks since 2011.

The Knicks have stated that they are not interested in the Clippers’ three stars: Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. While Anthony has done his best for New York, the team continues to lose – recently in a quadruple-overtime heartbreaker to the Atlanta Hawks.

The N.Y. organization seems intent to ship Melo to another team, and getting free from his contract with a remaining two years worth roughly estimated at $53 million. Melo’s contract has a number of clauses that make him difficult to trade.

He would earn a 15 percent increase in salary from the team he is traded to. He is also one of three players (the other two being Lebron James and Dirk Nowitzki) who have a no-trade clause in their contracts, meaning they can decline to be traded.

A High-Earning Star Player

The star forward has stated, however, his willingness to waive that right if the organization wants “to go in a different direction”. For its part, the Los Angeles team’s salaries make it far from feasible for them to absorb the additional 15 percent on top of Anthony’s salary.

Players from LA whose names have been floated include Jamal Crawford and Austin Rivers, who is the coach’s son. Coach Doc Rivers has stated he would trade anybody if it helps the team.

For the talks to progress, a third team must enter the picture. An example would be for New York to accept Crawford in a trade and then ship him  — and his contract with about $42 million left – to the third team.

The Knicks’ Problems Continue

Even before he became president of basketball operations, legendary coach Phil Jackson had already stated that ball movement must not end in his star forward’s hands. Phil reiterated the remark this season, and to add insult to injury, Charlie Rosen (a known Jackson confidant) described Carmelo Anthony’s legs as nearly gone.

Even if a trade happens, New York Knicks has other woes. Multiple games behind the last playoff spot, the Knicks is seeing big man Kristaps Porzingris as a sorry sight with Achilles tendonitis. He started with seven missed shots in a game against the Indiana Pacers. The game also saw center Joakim Noah shooting an airball – from the free throw line.

First-year coach Jeff Hornacek has expressed dismay over the team’s defense. He has, on more than one occasion, shaken the starting line-up.

New York Knicks is still losing – sometimes in close games. Whether the losing streak continues, or smiles start to surface at Madison Square Garden, is anyone’s guess.

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