The only catch is that it doesn’t look like the Celtics are convinced that Anthony would make them a better team. Here’s an excerpt from the Boston Globe that explains the situation:
A source indicated that Knicks president Phil Jackson has instructed management to move Anthony, who has a no-trade clause but included the Celtics as one of the teams for whom he’d waive the clause. Boston could become part of a potential three-team deal that would send Anthony to another club, perhaps the Clippers.
An NBA source said Celtics coach Brad Stevens would embrace coaching Anthony, but president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has rejected any deal. That hasn’t stopped the Knicks from scouting Celtics players just in case Boston is willing to become part of a trade.
Even if Ainge isn’t totally interested now, New York has been sending scouts to Boston games to see what potential players they’d want. The Globe reports that the Knicks are intrigued by several Celtics players.
Boston is currently second in the Eastern Conference with a 30-18 record, so it’s understandable why Ainge wouldn’t want to break up the team’s core. They’re only 2.5 games back of the struggling Cleveland Cavaliers, giving them a shot at first place in the East.
Anthony would like to stay put in New York as long as the team continues trying to win. But, at age 32, he’s not interested in a rebuilding process and would waive his no-trade clause if they go through with such a plan.
Jackson and the Knicks want to move Anthony, but also know that he must be sent to a contender before agreeing to a deal. Boston is an attractive destination because they have All-Star point guard Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford, along with several quality role players.
The question is, though, will Anthony make Boston better? They already have a good scoring lineup, but their issues are defense and rebounding. Furthermore, it’s unclear if Thomas and Anthony will complement each other’s games.
Ainge is well known for making some of the best trades in the league. So if he does trade for Anthony, it’s unclear that New York would get an adequate return.
Expected to be in the playoff hunt at the beginning of the season, New York is currently just 21-29, which puts them 11th in the East. They added several pieces in the offseason, including Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Courtney Lee, and Brandon Jennings.
Based on the new acquisitions, we predicted that the Knicks would finish 40-42 (9th) in the 2016-17 season, and have +3000 odds of winning the East.
Despite the additions, this feels a lot like the 2015-16 season, when New York finished 32-50. The new roster has failed to gel, and the Knicks have little hope of making the postseason.
Anthony is having a solid season with 23.1 PPG, 6.2 RPG, and 3.0 APG. Kristaps Porzingis is also having a good year with 18.6 PPG and 7.0 RPG. But beyond this, the Knicks haven’t gotten enough support from their new additions.
Rose has scored well (17.9 PPG), but he’s only shot 25.0% from the three-point line. Noah is averaging 9.0 RPG in just 22.8 minutes, however, he’s not the rim protector that he once was (0.86 blocks). Jennings plays well in spurts, but is shooting just 38.7% from the floor.
Lee is the only roster addition who’s played solid, averaging 10.3 points while shooting 42.5% from the three-point line.
Given that the experiment with this mix of veterans has failed, it’s understandable why New York is willing to trade their longtime superstar in hopes of either rebuilding, or finding pieces that enhance the current roster.
There’s no word on which Celtics the Knicks are interested in acquiring. Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder and Marcus Smart frequently surface in Boston trade talks, while they also hold rights to the Brooklyn Nets’ 2017 and ’18 first-round picks.
However, rumors have Ainge eyeing the Chicago Bulls’ Jimmy Butler, who’s five years younger than Anthony and entering the prime of his career. Part of Chicago’s management doesn’t think that Butler can headline a championship team, but he might be the missing piece to Boston’s title hopes.
Getting this deal finished would take Bradley, Smart, or Crowder, combined with at least one of the Nets’ upcoming picks. New York likely wants the same type of deal, but Anthony doesn’t make as attractive of a trade chip.
Another thing to consider here is that the 32-year-old forward’s family likes living in the Big Apple, and could ultimately convince him to stay in New York.
The trade deadline is February 23rd, at which point we’ll find out where Anthony will play.