The trades that never were.
This wild NBA offseason got a tad wilder when Carmelo Anthony was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder last weekend in a blockbuster deal. But according to Anthony himself, a blockbuster trade elsewhere could have happened much sooner.
During an interview on the SiriusXM NBA Radio channel, Anthony outlined two trades that didn’t go down earlier in the summer: One to the Rockets and one to the Cavaliers Cleveland Cavaliers.
During his appearance, Anthony said a deal with the Rockets was done earlier in the summer, according to the New York Daily News’ Frank Isola.
Anthony also said there was also a deal done between the Knicks, Pacers, and Cavaliers that would have left both Anthony and Paul George in Cleveland on draft night.
"Me and PG have a very close friendship,” Anthony told Sirius XM. “Actually, it was funny because me and PG was supposed to be in Cleveland on draft night. We were communicating about that. The deal was actually done and it got called off on draft night, so me and PG stayed connected throughout the course of the season.”
Anthony was on the trade block all summer, and the Rockets were the only team Anthony was willing to waive his no-trade clause to join.
In the end, though, there were too many hinderances on both sides to get a trade to Houston done.
Why it makes sense the Rockets deal didn’t happen
There was no way to make the money work in a trade while also giving the Knicks something of value back in return.
The Ryan Anderson contract was the biggest holdup in any deal with the Rockets. There was no way the deal was getting done without the remaining three-year, $61 million commitment on Anderson’s deal. Financial flexibility was a must for the Knicks, and Houston couldn’t provide that without a third team.
Does it make sense the Cavaliers deal didn’t happen?
We don’t have the specifics of the trade, so it’s hard to say.
The Cavaliers wanted young prospects, a high draft pick and All-Star caliber players back in return for Kyrie Irving, and would probably want a similar haul if Kevin Love was also involved. But neither the Pacers or the Knicks had any prospects they were willing to ship to the Cavs. Their most tradable assets were franchise building blocks in Kristaps Porzingis and Myles Turner.
The Nuggets were eventually included in trade discussions with the Pacers and Cavaliers, but a proposed trade where Gary Harris and the No. 13 overall pick being moved to Cleveland for Kevin Love, who would then reroute those assets to Indiana for Paul George fell apart with Indiana reneging.
Cleveland was willing to go through with the deal, but they’d still have Irving in hand. We now know he was going to eventually leave, which changed everything for the Cavaliers.
Cleveland was determined to maximize what might be James’ last year with the franchise before he became a free agent. Getting Anthony and George would have done that. But it also would have threatened Cleveland’s future if James indeed did walk next summer.
Were these deals real?
Probably. Anthony must have been kept abreast on discussions due to his no-trade clause.
But did he know why those deals fell apart or how close they were to happening? That’s unclear.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter. He’s on the Oklahoma City Thunder now and out of New York. That’s what he wanted, anyway.