Rumors are rumors. Casual sports fans love surfing the web, scouting various websites to find trade or free agency rumors that will make their team better, or at least different. This week, Knicks fans stumbled upon a rumor just like that.
In this alleged trade discussion, the Knicks would send All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony to the Los Angeles Lakers, in exchange for their first round pick this season, as well as forward Julius Randle, who went 7th overall a year ago before breaking his leg ten minutes into his NBA career.
This rumor is certainly enticing. Franchise altering, really. The Lakers will get a bona fide star, someone to build the franchise around when Kobe Bryant leaves. If they acquire Anthony, they can sign a big free agent like Kevin Love or Rajon Rondo, and make another splash next summer when Bryant’s contract expires and he likely retires.
The Knicks will get even more cap space, which will likely allow them to sign two-three max guys or three-four standout free agents. It also gives them two of the top four picks in the draft, and a young forward in Randle. If they drafted Jahlil Okafor and Emmanuel Mudiay, for example, that would give them three tremendous young talents, which is something that could really draw in free agents. Makes sense, right?
Not really. This is a trade rumor that really doesn’t make sense for either team. The Knicks are committed to building around Carmelo Anthony– they didn’t break the bank for him last summer for no reason. Anthony is on the wrong side of 30, and coming off knee surgery, but he is still the face of the franchise, and the primary player tasked with luring big name players to the Garden. For that reason, it doesn’t make sense to trade him.
While Anthony’s health is still a bit of a question mark, his role as a scorer and a veteran leader is undeniable. Anthony is by far the most experienced and battle-tested player on the Knicks roster, something that would be sacrificed for (essentially) three rookies. The Knicks would love it if they could get Towns or Okafor in the draft, but surrendering their best player doesn’t make it worth while.
And now, the Lakers. The second most successful franchise in the history of the NBA. The Lakers have become second fiddle to the Clippers of late, plagued by an aging superstars contract and a mass free agent exodus. The super team Lakers of three years ago was a massive failure, sending Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol packing, and sending Steve Nash to retirement. They currently have a poorly assembled group of spare parts, one or two good young players, and living legend Kobe Bryant, who has spent the last three seasons dealing with crippling injuries.
In Carmelo Anthony, they would take a similar path. Anthony could very well weigh the franchise down for the next half-decade, collecting massive paychecks while making minimal contributions. Would the Lakers next year, with a fresh young rookie center and maybe a shiny new free agent be worse than Kobe and Carmelo together, fighting for shots, likely unable to coexist, with no young players? Towns/Okafor and Randle are true building blocks for the future. Carmelo could be a roadblock in the present.
In the end, this rumor is what it sounds like: a rumor. There is no merit to these talks, and this idea is unlikely to materialize. It doesn’t make sense for either side. For now, Anthony is going to remain a Knick, and the Lakers will keep a firm grasp on their second overall pick.